The pace of store closures “dramatically outstripped openings” in the first half of 2018, with a net 151 convenience stores disappearing from the UK’s top 500 high streets, according to the Local Data Company (LDC).

The Retail and Leisure Market Update report revealed about 14 shops are closing every day as UK high streets face their toughest trading climate in five years, with c-stores the sixth most rapidly declining retail category.

The data showed that general store closures increased by 16.9% when compared to the same period in 2017, coupled with a decrease in openings of 2.1%, equating to a loss of 4,402 units in the first half of this year.

Senior relationship manager at LDC, Lucy Stainton, said: “It would be remiss not to acknowledge that, despite the persistent green shoots of growth in the market, and a good number of high street success stories, the outlook remains challenged. The pace of store closures dramatically outstripped openings in the first half of 2018 and the gap between the two has widened to a greater degree than seen previously.”

The first half of 2018 saw a decrease in total occupied numbers for all retail sectors across Britain including convenience, leisure, service and comparison goods. London was the worst-hit region, while Wales had the lowest number of closures.

The biggest decline was in the leisure category with a net decline of over 1,000 units in the first six months of 2018. The main category to contribute to this decline is pubs, which accounted for 17% of the closures in this sector.