Closing The High Street

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    Closing the high street

    The UK saw more than 800,000 new businesses in 2022/23, a 6.4% increase from the previous year. Unfortunately, it’s not good news for all business owners, as recent figures have revealed that England and Wales have seen the highest rate of bankrupt companies since the early 1990s.

    From failing to compare business energy deals to having an ineffective marketing strategy, many things can cause a business to fail, but which areas have the worst business death rate? To determine this, we have compiled data from the last five years to reveal the current state of business terminations in the UK. Using AI, we can also show what UK high streets might look like across the country in the near future.

    Birmingham has accrued more business deaths than any other area in the UK, with 4,845 in 2023 alone

    The table below reveals which UK areas have the highest number of business deaths based on figures from the first three quarters of 2023.

    UK areas with the highest total number of business deaths in 2023

    Here’s what high streets might look like across the most affected UK local authorities in the future

    1. Birmingham – 4,845 business deaths

    Birmingham

    With 4,845 business deaths, Birmingham has seen more enterprises terminate than any other area in the UK. Of the first three quarters of 2023, January to March saw the most significant proportion of business deaths, with more than 2,100.

    2. Westminster – 4,450 business deaths

    Westminster

    Located at the heart of England’s capital, Westminster has a booming tourist industry and provides jobs for a large number of London’s residents. Despite this, Westminster has the second-highest number of business deaths in the UK. Interestingly, this city saw more closures in the third quarter of 2023 than that of the first-place entry, totalling 1,365.

    3. Leeds – 2,970 business deaths

    Leeds

    Leeds was responsible for almost 3,000 business deaths between January and September 2023, the third-highest of all the UK areas on our list. When broken down by each quarter, January to March saw the most businesses close down, and July to September was responsible for the fewest business deaths.

    4. Barnet – 2,680 business deaths

    Barnet

    The London Borough of Barnet is famous for its weekly market, which has been a hit with customers for centuries. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to protect businesses in this area, as Barnet appears fourth on this ranking with a total of 2,680 business deaths.

    5. Manchester – 2,675 business deaths

    Manchester

    The English city of Manchester suffered 2,675 business deaths between January and September 2023, which is the fifth-highest total of all areas on our list. In a similar fashion to the other entries on this ranking, the period responsible for the most business deaths in 2023 was January to March, which saw more than 1,100 deaths.

    With nearly 180 business deaths per 1,000 enterprises, Wolverhampton has the highest proportion of business closures in the UK

    We have divided the number of business deaths by the number of registered enterprises as of 2023 to reveal the number of business deaths per 1,000 enterprises. Here’s what we found.

    UK areas with the highest number of business deaths per 1000 enterprises

    1. Wolverhampton – 179.5 business deaths per 1,000 enterprises
    Wolverhampton was recently revealed as the most prosperous area in terms of growth in small businesses; however, it appears that not all enterprises are thriving here. As of 2023, this city has around 8,800 enterprises, and when comparing this figure against the number of closed businesses, Wolverhampton has the highest figure in every UK area, totalling 179.5 business deaths per 1,000 enterprises.

    2. Newham – 159.4 business deaths per 1,000 enterprises
    Newham is next on our list, with 159.4 business deaths per 1,000 enterprises. Even though this city has a more significant number of business deaths than the first-place entry, Newham falls shy of the top spot when this is compared to the number of enterprises in the area.

    3. Mansfield – 157.7 business deaths per 1,000 enterprises
    Mansfield is completing the top three list of UK areas with the highest number of business deaths per 1,000 enterprises. Located in the East Midlands, this English town has suffered 530 business deaths between January and September 2023, which equates to 157.7 per 1,000 enterprises. It’s not all doom and gloom here, though, as the local town centre has recently received a significant investment from the government to help appeal more to visitors.

    Of all the areas in the UK, Wyre Forest has seen the highest increase in business deaths, rising by more than 145% in the last five years

    As previously revealed, businesses are dying nationwide, but how does this compare to five years ago? The following table shows the areas of the UK which have seen the most significant increase in business deaths since 2018.

    UK areas with the biggest change in business deaths between 2018-2023

    1. Wyre Forest – 145.5% increase in business deaths
    The first three quarters of 2018 saw 220 businesses in Wyre Forest close, one of the lowest figures on our list for this year. Unfortunately, between 2018 and 2023, this area has seen a 145.5% increase in business deaths, a more considerable change than any area in the UK.

    2. Mansfield – 125.5% increase in business deaths
    Mansfield is making its second appearance on one of our lists, this time concerning the change in business deaths over the last five years. The number of businesses closing down in the first three-quarters of 2018 stands at 220, and this figure jumped by 125.5% when comparing the business deaths for the same period in 2023.

    3. Sedgemoor – 92.9% increase in business deaths
    Based on recent figures, we can reveal that Sedgemoor has seen an increase in business deaths of 92.9% since 2018, the third-highest change across the whole of the UK. Despite having the same number of business deaths in 2023 as the first-place entry, this area has done slightly less damage over the last five years.

    The industry of professional, scientific, and technical activities has seen the highest number of business deaths in the UK, totalling almost 37,500 in 2023 alone

    Using data from the first three quarters of 2023, we can reveal the industries that have faced the highest number of business closures.

    Industries with the biggest total number of business deaths in 2023

    1. Professional, scientific, and technical activities – 37,490 business deaths
    According to recent data, the industry of professional, scientific, and technical activities has the highest number of business deaths, totalling 37,490 in 2023. This industry encompasses a range of business types, with everything from advertising and market research to accounting and bookkeeping.

    2. Construction – 35,095 business deaths
    With a total of 35,095 deaths in the last year, businesses in the construction industry have suffered the second-highest number of closures on our list. When broken down by quarter, this industry faced most of its closures between January and March, and its least fatal period was July to September.

    3. Business administration and support services – 27,565 business deaths
    Completing our top three list of industries with the most business deaths in 2023 is the business administration and support services sector. With more than 27,000 enterprises closing in the first three quarters of 2023, the demand for these services has taken a hit in recent times.

    The Agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry has collectively seen an increase in business deaths of almost 95%, the biggest change of any industry in the last five years

    Just like business electricity rates, industries rise and fall all the time, but which sectors have faced the biggest loss in terms of business closures over the last five years? Here’s what we found.

    Industries with the biggest change in business deaths between 2018-2023

    1. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing – 94.98% increase in business deaths
    Agriculture, forestry, and fishing are some of the most traditional industries on our list. Still, it appears that people are more concerned with contemporary business sectors. Between 2018 and 2023, the number of business deaths has increased by nearly 95%, the most significant change of any industry on our list.

    2. Real estate – 61.95% increase in business deaths
    It is no secret that the UK housing market has been fluctuating recently; this has taken its toll on businesses in the real estate industry over the years. With an increase in business deaths of 61.95% in the last five years, real estate has seen the second-highest change in business deaths.

    3. Retail – 41.20% increase in business deaths
    Many of us would consider retail one of the most important industries, but the number of business deaths in this sector could suggest otherwise. Despite having many more business deaths than the other entries in our top three, the retail industry has experienced a 41.20% increase in enterprise closures since 2018, the third-highest change over the last five years.

    Methodology

    We used ONS to find the number of enterprises in each local authority as of 2023.

    AI images were produced to imagine the future of high streets for the resulting top five local authorities with Midjourney, using text prompts such as ‘Manchester city centre with closed down empty shops’, ‘Shutters on shops’, and ‘boarded windows’.

    We used ONS to find the number of business deaths in each local authority for Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2018 and 2023.

    We used ONS to find the number of business deaths in each industry for Q1, Q2, and Q3 of 2018 and 2023.

    The total number of business deaths for each factor was calculated by adding each of the three quarters in their respective categories.

    We divided the total number of business deaths in 2023 by the number of enterprises before multiplying this by 1,000 to find the number of business deaths per 1,000 enterprises.

    We subtracted the total number of business deaths in 2023 from the total number of business deaths in 2018. We divided this by the 2018 total before multiplying this by 100 to find the change in business deaths for each local authority.

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