High Street chain closures slow with takeaways thriving

High Street chain closures slow with takeaways thriving

Chain stores are closing at their slowest rate for eight years, new research shows.

A total of 11,530 outlets shut across Great Britain in 2022. That’s an average of 32 closures a day.

But it’s a big improvement compared with the previous three years, according to data compiled for the accountancy firm PwC.

Banks saw the most closures, while takeaways, convenience stores and amusement arcades performed best.

“What we’ve seen in the last year is that high streets are more important than ever as a place where we work shop and play. These figures are testament to that,” said Kien Tan, Senior Retail Adviser at PwC.

The snapshot, conducted twice a year, covers more than 3,500 locations and shows the changing landscape of high streets, retail parks and shopping centres.

The data tracks not only which chains have closed stores but also how many have been opened. They include everything from shops, cafes and restaurants to gyms, banks and bars. Chains are classed as any business with more than five outlets. Independent retailers aren’t included.

As the chart below shows, there are still far more closures than openings. That resulted in a net loss of 10 outlets a day, on … Read More

Drivers offered share in EV charging start-up Bonnet

Drivers offered share in EV charging start-up Bonnet

Bonnet, an electric vehicle charger aggregator in the UK and Europe, is inviting its more than 150,000 strong driver community to join top-flight global investors in taking a stake in the company, as it accelerates its popular service across the continent.

This news comes as Bonnet has more than doubled its coverage in Europe in just three months, and now boasts over 200,000 chargers where EV drivers can easily start charging through its award-winning app in 12 countries.

Since launching in 2021, Bonnet has rapidly expanded its user-friendly and reliable way to charge electric cars for an ever-increasing number of drivers. With its success, the London headquartered start-up now wants to give its users an opportunity to take a stake in its mission to make charging accessible for all.

Over the next year, Bonnet plans to build on its unique product with a large focus on reliability and to further grow across the UK and Europe, as well as introduce an array of new innovative features for drivers and fleet managers.

While Bonnet’s current users have been invited from today to register interest in taking a stake in the start-up, other potential investors or members of the public will be … Read More

Renters’ set to get protection as watchdog launches probe into housing malpractice

Renters’ set to get protection as watchdog launches probe into housing malpractice

Housing tenants could be given extra protections and housebuilders forced to change their practices, the competition watchdog has warned.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced a probe into the building and rental sectors, saying it would “need to find” any competition issues that might be holding back house building in the UK.

“The quality and cost of housing is one of the biggest issues facing the country,” said CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell.

The watchdog pledged to look at four areas in the house building sector – build quality, land management, innovation, and oversight by local authorities. It said that it would investigate whether the practice of “banking” land is anti-competitive.

This is when a property developer buys a plot to build on at some point in the future, but then does not develop it for a long time.

It is estimated companies are sitting on enough land to build hundreds of thousands of homes across the country.

Last week Brandon Lewis, ex-housing and planning minister, said Britain was passing up on a near £18bn economic boost due to the government and businesses’ “failure to build enough new” homes,.

In a foreword to a report by think tank … Read More

Fintech ‘innovation hubs’ set to launch around the UK in levelling up push

Fintech ‘innovation hubs’ set to launch around the UK in levelling up push

A host of “innovation hubs” are set to be launched in cities across the UK today as part of a Treasury-backed plans to boost the growth of fintech beyond London.

The hubs have been announced as part of the launch of the new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT), a key recommendation of the government-commissioned Kalifa review of fintech two years ago, led by former Worldpay boss Sir Ron Kalifa.

Innovation hubs will now be set up across the country, with centres in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol. CFIT will act as a “central convening force” and set “strategic priorities and drive growth in the sector”, the organisation said today.

The chair of CFIT and former Open Banking Implementation Entity chief Charlotte Crosswell hailed the launch as a “significant moment for the UK’s fintech sector and our economy more widely”.

“The UK is already a leader in fintech but the global race for leadership is very competitive, CFIT’s job is to scale fintech UK-wide, galvanising the devolved administrations, metro mayors and universities to unlock the next chapter of growth, skills and job creation.” Crosswell added

CFIT also announced it will … Read More

UK facing double blow on inflation

UK facing double blow on inflation

Grocery prices inflation reached a high of 17.1 per cent last month, with the fastest rises recorded in essentials such as milk, eggs and margarine.

The increase in food costs in the four weeks to February 19 would add a potential £811 to annual shopping bills, according to the data gathered by Kantar, the market researcher.

The pressure is not limited to food items, with non-food inflation rising to a record of 5.3 per cent in February, a separate index by the British Retail Consortium and NielsenIQ shows.

The high prices of energy and running costs for companies, as well as tougher trading conditions brought about by the war in Ukraine, have led retailers to push up prices, according to Helen Dickinson, the consortium’s chief executive. The biggest price rises among non-food items were for gardening tools and pet food.

Overall inflation in shop prices rose to 8.4 per cent in February, up from 8 per cent in January. The biggest rise was recorded in fresh food, which rose to 16.3 per cent, up from 15.7 per cent in January.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar, said: “This February marks a full year since monthly grocery … Read More