Hair and beauty salons outperform all other independents on high street

Beauty salons are one of only a few types of businesses on the high street that increased in numbers in the first half of 2017, according to new data.

A report by The Local Data Company (LDC), which studied the top 500 town centres in the UK, revealed that more businesses opened on the high street than closed in the first half of 2017 and that independent businesses, including those in the beauty sector, led the way.

Beauty salons were second in the top five opening of stores in H1 2017 by classification type, with barbers coming out top, and cafés/team rooms, convenience shops and tobacconists making up the rest of the top five.

The “service” classification, which beauty falls under, saw 5,530 openings of units, 5,213 closures and a net change of 317 in this period, the report found.

Between them, these service/retail businesses have added a net of 7008 plus outlets over five years, from 2012–2017.

Nail salons were still in the top 10 classifications ranked by numbers of net opening in H1 2017, but had fallen to ninth place due to less opening.

Top 10 classifications ranked by numbers of net openings across GB, H1 2017

Meanwhile, independent public houses, women’s clothing shops, newsagents, bookmakers and shoe shops were among the types of stores that suffered closures.

The store closures were unevenly spread across the country, with Scotland faring the worst with a net loss of 42 shops and eastern England with 34.

Retail and vacancy rates were highest in North West England during this period at 15.1%, followed by the North East (14.8%), Yorkshire & The Humber (14.5%) and West Midlands (14.2%). 

By Midsummer’s Day 2017, levels of activity in openings and closures had fallen to a five-year low, but at the second quarter more shops were closing than opening.

“There was a striking turnaround in the first half of 2017 in comparison to 2016, in the balance of shop openings and closures,” said Matthew Hopkinson, director of LDC.  

“Last year saw a net fall of in numbers of nearly minus 2,000 stores operating between January and June. This year has seen an improvement of more than 2,000 plus from the 2016 result, with net growth increasing the number of shops on our high streets, albeit only by 103 plus shops overall.”

He added: “Measured across the whole six-month period in 2017 activity was buoyant, numbers increased, vacancy fell. Only right at the end this half-year have we seen evidence that might give reason to temper optimism.”  

Read LDC’s Retail and Leisure Trends Report H1 2017 here.