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Undertakers and tattooists doing better than travel agents

June 12, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Funeral parlours and tattoo-and-piercing studios are in a healthier position than high street travel agents, according to a new report measuring the number of openings and closings last year.

The study was conducted in Britain, but the trends, which reflect the effect of online retailing on traditional bricks-and-mortar outlets, have global implications.

Funerals cannot be conducted online. Neither can tattooing and piercing – nor hairdressing. These are the sorts of industries and activities that are thriving in modern Britain.

Tattooists thriving

A report on retail and leisure trends in Britain by UK-based Local Data Company (LDC) found that 679 travel agency outlets closed in 2017, which was the third highest number of closures among high street sector operators. Pubs saw the biggest decline with 747 shutting their doors, followed closely by banks, which closed 711 branches.

When it comes to growth industries, barbers and beauty salons led the way in 2017, with barbers growing by 624 outlets in 2017 to claim the top spot from tobacconists (including vaping stores) which came top in 2016 but have been pushed down to third place. Barbers increased from a net change of +482 units in 2016, with independent openings driving this growth, the report said.

Who would have thought smoking was a growth industry?

The trends indicate that activities that cannot be performed online, or at home, are thriving. Embalming and hairdressing are generally not performed at home – not in most households, anyway.

Other “sunrise industries” (fast-growing industries) in the UK last year were cafés and tearooms, nail salons, restaurants and bars, coffee shops, pizza outlets, health clubs, mobile phone shops, chemists, funeral directors and monumental masons, tattooing and piercing.

“Sunset industries” registering a decline in outlets last year, were pubs, banks, travel agents, post office services, newsagents, shoe shops, convenience stores, women’s clothing outlets, estate agents, fashion shops, bookmakers, computer stores, gift shops, Indian restaurants and discount stores.

“The category closing the most units across Great Britain in 2017 was pubs, with their continued decline across Great Britain just about beating the closures of banks,” the report’s authors noted.

“Pubs continue to see churn as consumer trends including going to the pub have changed drastically over the past few years due to discounting in supermarkets encouraging drinking at home, the smoking ban and increasing house prices enticing pub owners to sell pub units to convert into homes.

“Travel agents, estate agents, fashion categories (fashion shops, footwear and women’s clothing) have all been impacted by the rise in online competition. Pure players such as Boohoo, ASOS and Expedia continue to see rising sales as they eat into the market share of the traditional high street businesses.”

Written by Peter Needham

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