In 2018, walk-in banks experienced more net closures as compared to any other type of retailer. It comes as fast-growing digital rivals attracted shoppers away from the traditional high street heavyweights.
While beleaguered department stores have been taking the doom-and-gloom headlines for the retail sector during the past months, the bricks-and-mortar banks of the United Kingdom saw the greatest retrenchment in 2018, with around 716 more closures as compared to openings during the course of the previous year.
The news comes amid the rise in popularity of various “challenger banks” within the financial sector, with disruptors such as Revolut, Starling, and Monzo all rising to fame in recent years.
Last week, Santander revealed its plans to close 140 branches, in an attempt to reduce its estate by nearly a fifth. It is blaming the closures on the “changes in how customers are choosing to carry out their banking.”
The Local Data Company (LDC) produced the figures. It also highlighted that branch transactions have dropped by 23 percent in the past three years, while digital transactions rose by 99 percent.
The LDC said that vacancy rates within the leisure industry are “creeping up” and is currently at 8.5 percent. It marks the highest level in five years, because of the recent flurry of insolvencies and administrations in the casual dining sector.
The head of retail and strategic partnerships at the LDC, Lucy Stainton, stated: “LDC’s latest figures prove that for better or worse, the structural transformation across the retail sector shows no sign of slowing or abating.”
She added: “However, perhaps the most defining feature of 2018 is the first-time reversal of fortunes in the leisure space, this has largely been driven by a decline in the mid-market casual dining space. The key areas of growth across the last 12 months are very much skewed towards ‘lifestyle’ brands and offers including health clubs, restaurant/bar concepts, barber shops and beauty salons. This shows how consumers are continuing to be driven by newness and experience, presenting increasing challenges for more legacy operators.”