Cold start to year as high streets lose pubs, shops and restaurants

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Latest figures from the Centre for Retail Research show 305 stores shut down. Some 7,636 high street staff were made redundant. On top of this, up to 500 hospitality businesses are estimated to have gone bust last month, with the loss of thousands more jobs.

It follows the Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates for the 10th consecutive time on Thursday, from 3.5 percent to 4 percent, piling further pressure on mortgage payers and businesses struggling to pay off loans.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “This level of venue closures is the stark reality of the rapidly rising costs businesses have experienced.”

Among the stores hit were those of gift and stationery chain Paperchase, which fell into administration last week. The future of 820 staff is in doubt.

Tesco has since bought the brand and will sell its goods in its stores but the 106 Paperchase shops in the UK and Ireland are destined to go.

In a separate move, Tesco announced the closure of its in-store hot counters and delis – impacting some 2,100 jobs.

Lloyds Pharmacy said it was closing all 237 of its Sainsbury’s outlets last week, resulting in another 2,000 job losses.

Mobility outfit Middletons ceased trading and went into administration earlier this month leading to the closure of 17 stores, and last month well-known soft furnishings, craft equipment and wool store, Shaws The Drapers, went into voluntary liquidation.

The 28-branch chain had been selling off stock at heavily-reduced prices before Christmas to empty its shelves.

Watch and jewellery repair chain In Time, which ran 50 kiosks or stores-within-stores, went into administration in January.

The Timpson Group has bought 35 of the In Time kiosks, saving the jobs of 110 employees, as part of a pre-pack administration insolvency procedure.

For the hospitality sector, the latest research by NielsenIQ revealed 1,611 licensed premises closed for good in the last quarter of 2022.

This works out at 18 per day on average, so it is estimated that at this rate up to 500 businesses were lost last month.

In the past three years since the pandemic started, a total of 13,037 hospitality outlets have closed, equivalent to 13 sites lost every day.

Ms Nicholls said: “Behind every one of these closures are dedicated people who have become victims of circumstances out of their control and are now being forced to exit the industry, shedding jobs in the process.

“Until business costs get under control, we will continue to see this level of closures.”

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