Holding steady in stores business

HARTLEPOOL is holding steady when it comes to its level of stores remaining in business.

A survey shows 20 stores a day are closing across the UK, according to recovery service PwC whose data was compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC).

But the North-East was one of the better performing regions in 2011 and in Hartlepool, the town saw 12 store closures and exactly the same number of new openings in the last year.

The study took in clothes, shoe shops and jewellers as well as those trading in confectionery, newsagent and convenience, launderettes and dry cleaners, estate agents/auctioneers, restaurants, cafes and hot food.

Sean Hamilton, head of business recovery services at PwC Newcastle, 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.

“Retailers cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand, and must think about surgery before the problem becomes terminal. They need to engage with their stakeholders early, especially banks, landlords, credit insurers and their staff.”

Outside of Hartlepool, best performing towns in the region include Newcastle, where 64 stores closed down but 84 new ones opened and Darlington, which welcomed 29 new businesses and lost 19.

Other towns surveyed included Chester-le-Street (which gained four stores), Durham (gained four), Redcar (lost four), Stockton (lost nine) and Whitley Bay (gained five).