MORE shops closed in Scotland than in any other part of Britain last year with one shutting each day, researchers have found.

Banks, fashion outlets and charity shops were hardest hit as 366 stores closed and 254 opened across Scotland in 2016, according to new figures.

All areas in Scotland surveyed recorded an overall decrease in shops, with Leith having the highest rate of closures with a 10.53 per cent drop, followed by Ayr's 8.3 per cent fall.

Falkirk, which traditionally has more store openings than closures, was the most resilient with a 0.78 per cent drop.

Fashion stores had the largest number of closures at 32.

A total of 15 banks, 13 charity shops and 12 mobile phone stores also shut.

The falls were partially offset as more stores were opened in Scotland than elsewhere in Britain, except in the north-east of England, said the PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company.

Fast-food outlets were among the most popular new stores with 14 opening, followed by ten convenience stores, ten tobacconists and seven new television equipment servicing firms.

Across Britain, the fastest-growing retailers were in leisure, hearing aids, tobacconists and Marks & Spencer food outlets.

Mark Addley, deals director at PwC Scotland, said: "The average of around one closure per day has been the Scottish average for most years since 2012 - but that will be of little comfort to people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods because of this.

"Overall, we are seeing far fewer closures due to outright insolvencies, but more due to the lower key restructuring of store portfolios.

"Where there is some good news is that Scots are also leading the way in openings and we shouldn't lose sight of that. In this era of mobile banking, internet shopping and less people going to high streets, there will be change.

"What we have to see is companies adapting to that.

"And while those in retail parks may feel more secure, even there, caution has to be exercised as we are seeing companies that previously had two or more outlets in larger parks consolidating into one unit."

He added: "This has particularly impacted on mobile phone stores.

"Looking ahead, I doubt the figures are going to improve by the end of 2017 for areas like banking as we've seen a number of companies announce branch closures of late, but other areas may pick up depending on the levels of tourism Scotland and Great Britain sees over the summer."

The news comes after Lloyds Bank had earlier faced fresh anger over the closure of a further 100 branches.

Unite the union said the "continuous stream" of branch closures by the UK's retail banks appeared to show no signs of ending.

The union said the loss "will be painful for high streets across the country to absorb".

A Lloyds spokesman said the group's retail division was cutting 325 jobs as part of previously announced reductions under a restructuring, while 96 new roles will be created, adding: "We are committed to working through the changes announced in a careful and sensitive way.

"As we continue to make investment in our network, we will further expand the mobile branch fleet across Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, with the addition of nine new mobile branches."