Portsmouth shops: Data shows how the city has lost chip shops, tattoo studios and more since Covid-19 hit
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The Ordnance Survey data looked at Cascades Shopping Centre, Commercial Road, Arundel Street and Guildhall Walk in the city centre, Fratton Road, Queen Street, Kingston Road, The Hard, Elm Grove and Fawcett Road.
Shops closed in Portsmouth at triple the rate of the country as a whole. According to the data, there were 274 retail shops in March 2020 which had fallen to 243 by March 2022. This marks a decrease of 11 per cent compared with three per cent of the UK’s shops overall.
Portsmouth lost shops over the past few years include Commercial Road’s Sports Direct and Game which shut in 2020 as well as Debenhams, and Sonner Toys which closed in Cascades earlier this year. Though independent retailers have struggled, the city has gained 2.4 per cent more ‘supermarkets’ which is roughly in line with the success of chains elsewhere in the country. In 2021, shortly before Sainsbury's closed it's Commercial Road superstore, the brand opened a smaller 'Sainsbury's Local' shop on the same road. The former premises is now home to Pitt Street Skatepark, Portsmouth's first indoor centre for roller sports.
Based on national statistics, one could expect to see beauty services and tattoo studios among the more successful sectors as these businesses opened in their droves during the pandemic. While beauty services did open in Portsmouth at just under the UK average of 5.9 per cent, tattoo studios failed in the city. 350 new tattoo shops appeared in the UK across the two year period – an 8.2 per cent increase – but Portsmouth lost them at a rate of 6.2 per cent. This shows a difference of roughly 14 per cent when compared with the rest of the South East’s tattoo sector.
Restaurants, pubs and cafes have had more success with eight new food and drinks businesses opening in the area. This was slightly higher than the national average at four per cent compared with five nationwide. Recently, The Lord Fitzclarence welcomed customers for the first time and The Clarence Pier Brewers Fayre Pub reopened in Southsea following refurbishment due to damage from Storm Eunice in 2022.
Despite this trend, the area lost 2.3 per cent of fish and chip shops while else where in the South East these eateries opened at a rate of two per cent. We also saw more public toilets close than elsewhere in the region, losing 3.6 per cent of our facilities compared with the South East’s average 1.2 per cent.
Banks suffered the most as figures show 10 per cent closed in Portsmouth, above the 8 per cent average in the UK. Overall, the country saw 9,300 retail outlets close between March 2020 and March 2022 with services which could be used online suffering the most.
You can use the BBC’s postcode checker to find out more details about the changing face of high streets near you.