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2018 Was A Tough Year for Retailers (But it’s Good News for Barbershops on the High Street)

by charlottegw / last updated August 27, 2019

barbershop high street

The latest report from the Local Data Company on retailing in the high street shows that 2018 was one of the toughest periods for years for retailers, however barbershops continued their explosive growth, with a net increase of 813 units compared to 624 in 2017.

In general last year was poor for retail. There was a five year low in the number of new businesses opening as well as the highest rates of businesses closing over the same period. Vacant shops were also on the rise.

Barbershops however bucked the trend with more than two barbershops opened every day across the UK in 2018. Beauty salons also continued to grow in number, with a net increase of 495 compared to 388 in 2017.  The growth in nail bars has slowed slightly, down to +166 from +176 in 2017, although the numbers are still rising.

The report suggests that growth is partly driven by the UK’s night-time economy.  A survey* of 2000 people about their spending habits on a night out showed that the average British consumer spends £17.56 getting ready for a night out.  Among young people aged 26 to 30, the spend increases to £22.44 with most spending money on new clothes (82%), almost two thirds (63%) getting their hair done and just over half (54%) buying new make-up or hair products, while 40% of men pay to have their beard trimmed.  The number of people going out is increasing too, with 58% of consumers going out at least once a week, increasing to almost 70% for 18-30 year olds.

Hilary Hall, NHF/NBF chief executive says: “While this is great news and shows that services which cannot be offered online are thriving, the continued growth of hair and beauty businesses means that many high streets are now saturated.  The effect is that there are too many salons competing for the same clients.  Increasing competition, rising costs, including higher than inflation increases to the minimum wage and increased pension contributions, as well as uncertainty over Brexit, rising rents and business rates are all making it harder for salons to make a profit.”

Local Data Company, Retail and Leisure Market Analysis Full Year 2018

*Deltic Night Index by the Deltic Group, May 2019

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