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Boots among three major retailers to axe shops this weekend


British high streets are evolving across the UK, with many big brands opening and closing stores in April 2024.

According to figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) for the advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the rate of net closures in 2023 was up by a third from 3,627, but far short of the post-pandemic peak of more than 10,000 in 2021.

This includes more than 5,000 chain stores left empty last year – a rate of about 14 closures a day.

There are no signs of widespread closures stopping just yet with another busy month ahead for some major retailers.

A handful of shops will shut down this weekend, including a Boots pharmacy and a huge department store.

Boots

Pharmacy customers in Colwyn Bay, North Wales will bid farewell to the Boots branch on Saturday, April 6.

This follows the closure of the pharmacy chain’s branch in Rhos on Sea last month which is part of a wider shutdown of 300 stores.

Local constituency MP David Jones commented: “This is hugely bad news for the local community. This is not a case of simple shop closures. Pharmacies play an important role in the delivery of health care, and many people will be extremely worried as to how they will be able to obtain essential medicines.”

According to PwC figures, pharmacies were the most affected retail category affected by closures last year, with 787 chain outlets axed in 2023. While Boots famously shut dozens of stores, many of these were Lloyds outlets which independent brands took over.

House of Fraser

The well-known department store made its high-street debut in 1849 in Glasgow, Scotland, and has long been a go-to for all things fashion, beauty, gifts, homeware and electricals.

But the major chain has struggled since 2023, as told by the Frasers Group chief executive, Michael Murray, who described House of Fraser as a “broken business” and said it is likely to “diminish”.

He added that the group’s strategy was to break away from the traditional operating model of operating department stores, which has lent itself to a string of closures.

In the latest wave of closures, the shop at Cavendish House, Cheltenham will be axed this Saturday, April 6. It comes after stores in Lakeside, Solihull and Guildford, and will be followed by the loss of the Carlisle branch later in spring.

Booths

Not to be confused with the health and beauty giant, Boots, the grocery chain Booths will also close a store in a matter of days.

The Hale Road branch in Altrincham will shut its doors for the last time on Sunday, April 7 after nine years in the local community. Commenting on the closure, one shopper said: “So sad particularly for the staff who work there. Lovely store.”

While the loss of the chain is a nuisance for loyal Booths shoppers, the area won’t be without a supermarket for too long. One of the “big four” supermarkets, Asda, is set to take over the site just a few weeks later officially opening on Monday, April 29.

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