Shop closures across Scotland down 35% in 2017 and net increases in openings in Paisley, Dundee and Falkirk. Yet another sign of growing economic strength?



Though we are still seeing a net decline with more shops closing than opening, the rate seems to be slowing. Statistics from Local Data Company for Accountants PwC and reported in Insider, show 132 closures and 90 openings in the last year giving a net loss of 42. In the previous year there were 203 closures and 116 openings giving a net loss of 87.

Across the country there was some variation with Paisley, Dundee and Falkirk all showing net increases. Glasgow and Edinburgh had the most closures dropping from 50 to 44 and 82 to 37 respectively. The quite large decline, greater than the overall national decline at 45, in Edinburgh is surprising given the city’s overall economic health reported before here:

Sunshine on Leith? Edinburgh the most prosperous city after London

‘Staggering’ 175% increase in Edinburgh office take-up is further evidence of booming Scottish economy

There is presumably a local explanation for the Edinburgh figures and they must be distorting the overall Scottish picture to suggest a decline nationally which is not actually there. Perhaps the declines in Edinburgh and Glasgow can been seen as signs of over-reach or saturation in already buoyant centres while the increases in the smaller and less affluent centres in Paisley, Dundee and Falkirk can be seen as very good news and signs of recovery there.  The main decline was in banks, women’s clothing and shoe shops and the main increases were in recruitment agencies and fast food takeaways.

The slowing decline or the actual lack of decline outside of Edinburgh is one more factor suggesting growing strength in the Scottish economy. At risk of over-repeating, see these as other recent indicators:

Scotland’s economy continues to show signs of good health and growth

Reports of a strong Scottish economy just keep coming. Now debt decrees down 93% in the last three months

More evidence Scottish economy is strong: Demand for office space in Glasgow highest for ten years

Scottish businesses continue to show signs of health with insolvencies down 23% as the Scottish economy holds strong



2 thoughts on “Shop closures across Scotland down 35% in 2017 and net increases in openings in Paisley, Dundee and Falkirk. Yet another sign of growing economic strength?

  1. Alasdair Macdonald November 15, 2017 / 9:34 pm

    Well done, Mr Robertson. Data can always be interpreted in a number of ways depending on which of the various data you choose to highlight The mainstream media in Scotland tends to focus on data which show Scotland in a bad light.

    I remember some years ago an Inspector’s report on one of my local primary schools indicated that the school was providing an outstanding service to its community. As is the way with such reports, the Inspectors included three ‘points for action’, because there is always room for some improvement. In the context of the overall report, these were relatively minor, but nonetheless worth heeding. The local paper headline was “COULD DO BETTER!” In the subsequent five paragraph report the first paragraph simply repeated the headline a bit more condemnatorily and each of the next three paragraphs was about one of the three points for action. The fifth paragraph was “Otherwise, her Majesty’s Inspectors said that the school was satisfactory”.

    Even if the data you have chosen and conclusions which you have drawn from them turn out to be false, your actions are no less valid than those of the gloom mongers. Being biassed, I know whose interpretation I prefer.

    Having worked in and around Paisley for 16 years and having witnessed the town centre become a ghost town – all that was missing was the tumbleweed rolling down the empty High St – I am delighted to see the increase in openings. I hope it is not a false dawn. Now, if Paisley can win the City of Culture competition, as it deserves to, then perhaps, as Glasgow did, with the Garden Festival, European City of Culture, City of Music, City of Architecture, etc., and relaunch itself as the thriving town it once was then we should all rejoice.


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