Gap between UK shop openings and closures narrows - survey

LONDON, March 21 Fri Mar 21, 2014 3:52am EDT

LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - The gap between store closures and openings in Britain's 500 largest town centres narrowed by 80 percent in 2013 as the economy improved, though 16 stores a day are still closed, according to a survey published on Friday.

Analysis by PwC and the Local Data Company found the gap was 371 in 2013, compared to 1,779 in 2012. Last year 6,033 stores closed versus 5,662 openings.

The survey found women's fashion shops, banks, video libraries, travel agents, mobile phone outlets, recruitment agencies and shoe shops were falling in numbers.

However, charity shops, convenience stores, betting shops, cheque cashing, sports good shops and coffee shops were bucking the trend.

Recent data and surveys have shown an improving outlook for UK consumer spending, which generates about two thirds of gross domestic product. (Reporting by James Davey)