Travel agents among top 10 declining retail categories

Travel agencies are among the 10 worst affected retail sectors on the high street, according to new research.

In the first half of 2021, there was a net loss of 173 travel agents, according to the Local Data Company, a retail location insight company.

The fastest declining category was charity shops, with a net loss of 446 units, followed by three categories within the fashion and general clothing sector.

Bookmakers lost 342 outlets, car dealerships lost 245 and banks were down by 188.

The Local Data Company said travel agents, bookies and banks featured in the top 10 declining list “mainly as a result of the increasing prevalence of online services in these sectors”.

Its report about retailers for H1 2021 also said that travel agents were among the most affected by the lockdown over winter – along with fashion, gift shops and bureaux de change.

It said agencies, gift shops and bureaux de change were affected because they are “all connected to travel and tourism – one of the industries impacted most by the pandemic”.

The number of independent travel agents and tour operator units in the UK fell by 3% during the first half of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, according the Local Data Company.

The first six months of year saw a net loss of 51 independent branches as only 114 new shops opened and 165 closed. Multiples fell 8%, with 36 openings and 166 closures.

The overall independent retail market saw its first growth for four years with a net rise of 804 shops – led by convenience stores, barbers, take-aways and grocers.

Lucy Stainton, commercial director at the Local Data Company, said: “For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, there may be some cause for optimism when it comes to the performance of our high streets.

“The independent sector has returned to growth for the first time since 2017 as the number of closures dropped and openings have steadily increased year-on-year, boosting the overall figures.”

Picture by Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

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