‘Shopkeeping sector’ halved by insolvencies

The UK’s famous reputation as a nation of shopkeepers no longer rings true
after research by Grant Thornton revealed that insolvencies in the
sector contribured to it shrinking by 45% in the past 11 years.

Just 33,150 food, drink and tobacco retailers were registered in the UK for
VAT purposes in 2005 compared with 64,205 in 1994, Grant Thornton’s recovery
& reorganisation practice said.

A combination of factors accounted for the sharp decline in what was once one
of the most prominent sectors of the UK economy.

David Bush, head of retail at Grant Thornton commented: ‘Over the past 10 or
so years, many will have simply dissolved, perhaps due to a lack of succession
and some will have been bought out.

‘However, many also suffered some form of insolvency as a result of failing
to cope with the high cost of borrowing in the early nineties, a market where
consumer taste has rapidly changed and, crucially, ever stronger competition
from the supermarkets, which now extends to them buying up convenience store

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