Net openings (that is Openings minus Closures) of 50 (167-117) were down by 50% on the previous year’s figure of 109 (193-84). Viewed on a graph of net openings, a five-year peak has passed, with net openings back in the range (of 40-75) that encompassed most previous years from the mid-1990s onwards.
A further sign of pressure in the independent market comes from the ratio of openings to closings (i.e. “churn”) which dropped sharply to 1.4:1. Only one previous year has exceded this rate: 2003 when, at 1.2:1, it was a time when for nearly every restaurant that opened another one closed.