Estate agents were the second fastest declining retail high street category during the first half of 2018, research released this morning has revealed, beaten only by the rapid closure of pubs.
Some 211 estate agency branches closed over the period, the Local Data Company (LDC) has revealed.
It says the closures have been prompted by the slowdown in the housing market and are concentrated in Greater London and the South East, but the research firm says competition from Purplebricks has also played a part in squeezing fee levels and profit margins.
Its report also highlights how much pressure the high street is under, revealing that 692 pubs closed between January and June this year, along with 223 electrical goods stores, 171 women’s clothes stores and 160 newsagents.
Overall, the number of high street units that closed over the period increased by 16.9% compared to the same period last year, while the number of openings decreased by 2.1%.
LDC says small towns are being hit hardest while larger shopping centres are proving more resilient.
“The challenges faced by UK retailers showed no signs of slowing down in the first half of 2018,” the report says.
“Retailers continue to fight against dented consumer confidence, political uncertainty, rising occupational costs affecting margins and increasing competition pushing prices down across key sectors.”
Agents considering an alternative career on the high street might look to the key growth sectors highlighted by the report which include barber shops, beauty salons, mobile phone shops, health clubs, shoe repair bars and vaping retailers.
Read the report in full.