Burnley bucks trend as more shops open

BURNLEY is bucking the trend as more chain stores opened than closed in the town in the last year according to new data.

The news will be a welcome relief for Burnley’s fragile economy which has seen several long established stores close in recent years.

In other welcome good news, Wynsors World of Shoes is planning to open a store in Church Street.

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That will help to soften the blow caused by discount retail chain TJ Hughes, which has a store in Burnley, going into administration.

However, the type of most new shops opening – pound shops, charity shops, pawnbrokers and bookmakers – is perhaps indicative of the pressures faced by shoppers in the current economic climate.

The figures, compiled by the Local Data Company, show that those types of shops have opened recently at the expense of jewellers, music shops, book shops and clothes shops.

In Burnley from January 2010 to May this year there were 13 so-called “multiple retailer” store closures but 17 openings in Burnley.

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This is in line with the North-West as a whole which fared better with most other areas across the country in experiencing more store openings than closures.

Several national retailers have closed stores in Burnley in recent years including Mothercare, Woolworths and recently Focus and Blockbuster.

Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, which commissioned the research, said the next six months would also prove a challenge for high streets up and down the country.

Toby Underwood, advisory partner PwC in the North of England, said: “Over the next six months, retailers will undoubtedly continue to struggle. Certain categories such as clothes shops are likely to experience high levels of financial distress. The combination of rising inflation, a squeeze on consumer spending, and dented consumer confidence leading to people increasingly trying to find the best deal online has made life difficult for store-dependent high street retailers who have seen a drop in sales and reduced footfall.”

In Lancashire, Rochdale and Lancaster were the hardest hit towns with Manchester and Chester performing best overall.