Furniture and homewares retailers have seen a significant decline in store numbers over the past five years, new figures have revealed.
UK bulky goods, which includes home furniture, baths, kitchens, beds, tiles and carpets, saw a 6.3% fall in numbers between 2012 and 2017, according to an analysis from the London Data Company. This totals a net decline of 1,227 stores nationwide.
All regions, except Wales, have seen a decline in the number of bulky goods stores. The North of England saw the biggest drop in numbers, with the North-West leading the trend at a fall of 9.1%.
The East Midlands (-2.2%), Yorkshire (-3.4%) and Greater London (-5.5%) all experienced a lower rate of churn in retailers than the UK average of 6.3%.
Independent retailers continue to dominate this market, representing 72% of the bulky-goods sector.
However, independent bulky-goods stores have seen the largest decline in the past five years, with a net loss of 906 stores across the UK (-6.5%).
Multiple chains have also seen a dip in numbers, with a net loss of 321 stores (-6%). This has been apparent in the number of large multiples going into administration, such as Betta Living.
Consolidation in the market with the growth of online sales has also accelerated the decline in store numbers.
Several national multiples have expanded their stores, with some opening new, smaller store formats acting as showrooms to support online trade and increase brand awareness.
The main challenge all bulky-goods stores face is from online players and start-ups, which offer more flexible terms.
The percentage of sales attributed to online in the household goods category jumped 3.8% from 5.9% in 2012 to 9.7% at the start of 2017.