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The rate of business insolvency in the nation’s town centres appears to have spiked in 2012 so far, according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Local Data Company.

In its periodic report, PwC notes that almost 1,000 stores and other outlets vanished from town centres in the first half of 2012.

This compares with just 174 shops that closed in the whole of 2011, and a net increase in outlets of 1.2% during 2009.

Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, explains some of the reasons behind the rise in business insolvency in some sectors.

“Relatively long leases, with inflexible terms, have been entered into in a growth phase of the economy which is no longer appropriate,” he says.

Some retailers simply had too many outlets, following ambitious over-expansion plans, while he suggests that other companies will need to find new ways of working with their partners and suppliers in order to thrive.

However, there are some pockets of positive performance – including some disciplines with clear links to the recession, like pawnbrokers, payday lenders, charity shops and discount stores.