An assessment by insolvency trade body, R3 has found retailers in the North West have lower risk of insolvency of any UK region besides London and the East of England, despite the headlines of the struggles of some well-known chains.
R3’s figures found that 38.7% of retailers in the North West were at a higher than normal risk of insolvency between September and December 2019. This figure represents a fall of 0.6 percentage points on the previous quarter.
This comes as further good news for the sector, as the British Retail Consortium reported 2019 to be the worst year on record for retail, and intelligence experts Springboard predicted a -1.5% fall in footfall leading up to Christmas.
Paul Barber, North West chair of R3 and a partner at Begbies Traynor, said:
While the high street is clearly suffering, North West retailers are proving more resilient than their counterparts in some other regions.
“However, within the region, there is still a big contrast between the cities like Manchester and Liverpool on the one hand and smaller town centres on the other.
“The slight easing in risk levels could indicate that the weakest businesses have already gone.
“Even so, survivors still face a tough challenge. The retail crisis is not just about competition from online or a slowdown in consumer spending – it’s a symptom of an underlying shift in our shopping and leisure habits.
“Survival – and success – will not only require careful operational management – monitoring and controlling stock, costs, and cashflow, with access to real-time financial information – but also understanding and managing that overall strategy reflected in changing customer demand.”
Stockport is one town centre that has bucked the national trend, with footfall up over 21% in the 8 week Christmas and New Year trading period from 11th November to 5th January versus last year.