The number of stores closing in the UK fell significantly last year compared with 2012, new research by PwC and Local Data Company shows.

In 2013 multiple retailers - defined as those with five or more units - closed 6,033 shops, compared with 7,337 the year before when a wave of big-name retail administrations struck.

The slowdown in closures has led to a major reduction in the net closure figure. The number of stores closed in 2013 was 371 higher than the number opened, compared with 2012 when 1,779 fewer shops opened than closed.

The figures are part of a joint report by accountancy firm PwC and Local Data Company, published today.

PwC said that while there was still a significant net closure of stores last year - an average of 16.52 a day - a fall in the amount closing was a good indicator of returning confidence and wider economic recovery.

Commenting on the findings, Local Data Company director Matthew Hopkinson described 2013 as a “turning point” for retail.

He said: “The data reflects the ongoing structural changes taking place in our town centres and the continuing consolidation of ‘anchor stores’ into fewer but larger shops, which are either in megamalls or out-of-town retail parks.

“The oversupply of shops nationally has resulted in reduced rents and created opportunities for what many perceive as less desirable shops ( betting shops, cheque cashing and tattoo parlours) to fill the vacuum left by the retreating ‘anchor chains’.”