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  • Construction output continued to weaken during the three months to January 2015 according to ONS estimates. All work output declined by 2.8% compared to the previous three months; pegged  back by a 7% drop in R&M output. New work output was flat, with rises in commercial and infrastructure output offset by contraction in the housing, public non-housing and industrial sectors. Compared to a year earlier output was up by 2.4%; slower than the prevailing rate of expansion in the UK economy as a whole after having outpaced other sectors over the last eighteen months.


  • Britain’s high streets lost shops during 2014 at almost three times the rate in 2013, according to research by PwC and the Local Data Company. Across retailers with multiple premises in the 500 town centres studied, there were 5,839 closures and 4,852 openings, a net decline of 987 shops. This compares to 371 net closures in 2013. Leisure, beverage and food premises fared well during the year, as did charity shops, pound shops and betting shops. However this was more than offset by closures of traditional retailers such as clothing and shoe shops, and of service retailers such travel agents and hairdressers.
  • Manufacturing output during the three months to January rose by 0.4% compared to the previous three months, to 2.6% higher than a year earlier. Combined output of the UK’s production industries, including manufacturing, was flat on the previous three months and up 1.1% on a year earlier.

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