Retail has least business failures, figures show

The retail industry has the lowest number of business failures among all sectors in the UK, new data has revealed.

Figures from UK and offshore company agents,, revealed the top 10 industries with highest business “death rates”, and was put together using the Business Demography release, published by ONS in November 2017.

The business “death rate” relates to businesses that have ceased to trade, and the death rate is calculated using the number of deaths as a proportion of the active enterprises.

The retail sector had the lowest death rate, with a figure of 10.5%, which was below the UK average.

The worst afflicted sector, at 17%, was finance and insurance, compared with 13.3% in 2015. This is followed by business administration and support, at 15.4% – compared with 10.1% in 2015.

It was found the number of UK business “deaths” increased from 283,000 to 328,000 between 2015-16; a death rate of 11.6%.

The region with the highest business death rate was London, at 14%, followed by Scotland at 11.8%. Northern Ireland had the lowest death rate, at 9.2%.

Furthermore, found the UK five-year survival rate for businesses born in 2011 and still active in 2016 was 44.1%. By region, the highest five-year survival rate was seen in the South West, at 47%, while the lowest was in London, at 41.7%.

James Turner, managing director of, said: “It is obviously, incredibly important to evaluate all types of risk when thinking about starting – or investing in – a business. Financial loss can be devastating.

“However, the potential for failure should never put you off trying. My advice would be to research, thoroughly, read case studies, speak to people who have both achieved success and faced loss, and always tread with awareness.”

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