Yarmouth beats national trend with number of independent shops

People shopping in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass

People shopping in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Great Yarmouth is bucking a trend which has seen independent stores in the region closing faster than they can open.

New data released by the Local Data Company (LDC) and British Independent Retailers Association showed independent retailers opened the fewest number of shops in Britain's top 500 town centres since LDC records began in 2009.

And with the number of independents in towns such as Norwich, Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge fall throughout 2015, by 1.2pc, 3.5pc and 0.4pc respectively, new stores in Great Yarmouth has risen by 6pc, or 73 new stores.

In towns across the east of England, 400 independents have closed while 394 have opened.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC, said: 'Independents are a key component of our high streets and this is seen both in the fact they represent a majority of the units but also the diversity and vibrancy they can bring along with their direct connection to local economies.

'While the numbers remain positive the dramatic decline in the growth of independents from 11 openings a day to just one a week reflects the challenges many independent businesses face.

'A number of factors are at play but one of the major factors has been the move of many 'high street' anchor retailers such as Next, Marks and Spencers and River Island moving from the high street shop out of town retail parks.

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'These moves result in lower footfall volumes as people follow them out of town, which has a big impact for the smaller retailers left behind.'

Sectors in decline include women's clothing shops, pubs, newsagents and Indian restaurants. However, the report found that key growth sectors have been barbers, hair and beauty salons, cafés and tobacconists.

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