The alarming number of shops that have closed in Grimsby but rise of independents shows hope for high street

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 Feb 2019

The changing face of Grimsby's high street has been revealed in a new report which shows the alarming number of stores that have closed in recent years.

As many as 33 stores vanished from the town's high street between 2013 and 2018, with only 15 new stores taking up empty units over the same duration.

However, the figures do give an insight into how the future of the town centre could look - with local businesses taking over from traditional big high street brands.

An Office of National Statistics (ONS) report analysed British high streets to discover consumer's shopping habits and map increases and decreases in certain store numbers, such as clothing, footwear, bookmakers, pubs and bars, among more.


More than 30 shops have closed in Grimsby town centre in five years (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

According to the data for Grimsby, charity and mobile phones stores were most in decline between 2013 and 2018, with tattoo parlours and hobby and sport equipment stores following closely behind.

However, there was a massive increase in hair and beauty service stores, with an extra seven now trading on Grimsby's high street.

The town centre has also welcomed one new convenience store, two takeaways and five cafés since 2013.

Read more: Plans to transform historic heart of Grimsby and bring more visitors into St James' Square

A spokesman for North East Lincolnshire Council said the figures showed how the town centre's retail offering was changing.

He said: "The high street is changing across the country.

"More and more people shop online, but you can't get your hair or nails done digitally.

"The high street needs to diversify, and it's encouraging that shops are seeing the value of coming into the town centre."

Town centre traders have also said the rise of the independents is good for Grimsby.

Scott Harries, joint owner of hair salon 74 West Ltd on Victoria Street, said: "Local people appear to like and support local businesses."

Read more: Well-known bakery chain opens new store in Grimsby

Nationally, town centres across England and Wales have seen an eight per cent decrease on average in their high street store counts.

Having lost 23 per cent of its 415 stores in five years, Stoke-on-Trent saw the starkest decline in its number of high street stores.

Eastbourn, Blackpool, Southampton and Sheffield were also among the worst affected. 

Changes to Grimsby's high street

Decline: Changes to stores in Grimsby between 2013 to 2018

According to the Office of National Statistics' results, Grimsby's high street lost four clothing stores between 2013 and 2018.

These include Greenwoods, Sports Direct and BHS, which shut in 2016 but was replaced with Poundland and budget fashion chain Pep&Co in March 2018.

Decline: Changes to stores in Grimsby between 2013 to 2018

The high street has seen seven food and drink outlets disappear from Grimsby since 2013.

There has also been a reduction in its charity, phone and books and maps stores, with between three and four stores closing in each category.

Rise: Changes to stores in Grimsby between 2013 to 2018

While there has been no change to Grimsby's bakeries and bookmakers, the number of hair and beauty service stores has risen by a massive seven.

There has also been a welcomed increase in cafés and convenience stores.

Why is the High Street in decline?

Almost one in five pounds were spent online over 2018 Christmas.

Last year's Christmas saw the largest share of retail sales go to online stores, with Amazon announcing Cyber Monday as their "biggest shopping day in their 24-year history".

Read more: Why footfall is up and Freshney Place has had a good 2018

Despite these findings, when shoppers in Grimsby's Freshney Place were asked "Will you be shopping in store or online this Christmas?", they gave a 50-50 response.

Speaking at the time, Carol Crichton said: "I will be doing my Christmas shopping here in Grimsby.

"I have always done my shopping here rather than online because I like to know and look at what I'm getting.

"I have always done my Christmas shopping in Grimsby and this year will be no different."

Whereas George Hine, 27, said: "I'll probably do my shopping online because it's easier. I don't really have time to look around the shops."

Money spent online between 2012 and 2017

According to data by statista.com on the "Value of online retail sales in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2012 to 2017 (in billion GBP), shoppers in the UK have almost doubled their online transactions in six years.

2012 - £33bn

2013 - £38bn

2014 - £44bn

2015 - £52bn

2016 - £60bn

2017 - £67bn


Salon owners welcome changes to Grimsby's high street - as report reveals which shops are OPENING in town

Joint owners Scott Harries and Christ Ashworth, left, with apprentice Mollie Tate (Image: Rick Byrne / Grimsbylive)

Stepping into the unknown is daunting, but it's something which has paid off for two Grimsby salon owners.

Joint owners of 74 West Ltd, Scott Harries and Chris Ashworth, are welcoming change to the high street after a report revealed an increase in service and independent businesses in Grimsby.

Scott and Chris opened 74 West Ltd, on Victoria Street South, in May last year after working together at the town's former Toni & Guy.

Scott said: "The introduction of more service and independent industry in Grimsby, such as hair and nail salons and coffee shops, is a positive step for a small town like Grimsby.

"We were struggling to get big name businesses here anyway, so I see this as a step forward. Local people appear to like and support local businesses."

Inside 74 West Ltd on Victoria South Street, Grimsby, with Scott Harries, Chris Ashworth and Mollie Tate (Image: Rick Byrne / Grimsbylive)

Scott added: "There are so many shoppers turning to online retailers, but it's true that you can't get your hair or nails done online.

"It would be nice to see our high streets become home to more independent retailers in coming years, and see less empty units in our shopping centre."

Chris said: "The hairdressing industry has more cash flow transactions than some other businesses so that's possibly a reason why it keeps going."


Victoria Street, Grimsby (Image: Google)

Grimsby has been on a retail roller-coaster in recent years with closures like BHS hitting the high street and a rise in vacant stores in Freshney Place.

But there have also been store openings with independents gaining more of a foothold on the town centre and discount stores opening.

House of Fraser, one of the town's landmark stores, on Victoria Street, was also saved from closure.



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