Retail still attracting start-up hopefuls in Lancashire

Entrepreneurs in the North West are not being put off by problems in the retail sector, a new survey has revealed.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 2:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 3:12 pm
Paul Barber

Despite the turbulence, more and more people are setting up in business.

And the number of retailers at higher than normal risk of insolvency has held steady for the past three months, according to the latest research from insolvency trade body R3.

The number of retail businesses with a physical presence considered at a higher than normal risk of insolvency in June remained almost unchanged at 40.4 per cent.

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Despite the problems facing the high street, the number of businesses in this category has also increased by 1.4 per cent during the quarter to over 15,900.

Meanwhile amongst e-commerce businesses in the North West, 34.6 per cent are at higher risk, and the number of such companies has grown by 1.6 per cent to over 6,100.

Paul Barber, North West Chair of R3 and a partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “The problems facing the retail sector have left some of the best known names on the high street struggling for survival, yet it has not deterred people from setting up. New businesses are being started all the time and new concepts are emerging.

“While it may be no surprise that the number of e-commerce firms has risen by over half since two years ago, it is notable that the number of store-based retailers has increased by over 20 per cent during that time and stalls or pop-up businesses by 62 per cent.

Retail remains an attractive prospect for many entrepreneurs and vacant stores provide new opportunities. In some cases they are trialling their idea online first, or are keeping costs down by selling through pop-up shops.”

The figures show risk scores have remained stable for many specialist retailers, including home furnishings stores, of which 42 per cent are now at elevated risk, and clothing stores (36.2 per cent).