UK Retail Companies On The Rise, with 14% Increase in 5 Years

Analysis of government data highlights growth in the retail industry in response to high demand, but the sector will need to be flexible in the face of 2023 challenges. See how the retail sector is expected to increase below.

New analysis reveals the resilience of the retail sector, experiencing a surge in business numbers over the last five years despite economic challenges.

The number of retail businesses in the UK has risen by 14% in the last five years – resulting in an additional 27,445 new companies in the sector. From 2021 to 2022 alone, over 3,560 new retail businesses joined the industry.

The findings were collated by Business Name Generator, using data from the Office of National Statistics’ report on UK business activity. The analysis uncovers the industries that have shown the most growth in recent years.

Retail has experienced the fifth-largest growth out of all UK industries in the last five years, ahead of sectors including finance and insurance.

retail increase

Top 10 Industries By Business Number Surge Over Last Five Years

  1. Transport & storage – 26.42%
  2. Property – 18.81%
  3. Construction – 17.23%
  4. Accommodation & food services – 16.56%
  5. Retail – 13.95%
  6. Public administration & defence – 8.74%
  7. Finance & insurance – 8.42%
  8. Motor trades  – 8.06%
  9. Arts, entertainment, recreation & other services – 7.02%
  10. Wholesale – 4.88%

Despite this increase in UK retail businesses, the sector is set to continue facing challenges. According to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), nearly 15,000 jobs have been lost in the retail sector so far in 2023, with businesses restructuring operations and cutting costs.

Plus, Footfall in the high street in 2022 was between 10 and 15 per cent below that of 2019, and the CRR noted it’s possible that it will not ever reach the levels of the late 2010s.

Chloe Chai, spokesperson from Business Name Generator, says:

“The 14% increase in the number of companies in the UK retail industry is a positive sign of growth and resilience in the face of economic challenges.

However, as we look ahead to 2023, retail businesses must remain vigilant and proactively address financial constraints to continue this upward trajectory. It’s important for companies to seek out new opportunities and adapt to the changing market to maintain this growth and stay competitive in the industry.”