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Equilibrium's finance and investment news roundup

As part of our roundup this week, we look at new statistics revealing a significant fall in new shop openings in the first half of the year, a new report claiming financial scams are being committed once every 15 seconds, figures suggesting that housing costs are further dividing the young and old, and the announcement of a new Chief Executive at GlaxoSmithKline.


New shop openings 'fall considerably'

The number of new shop openings in the UK dropped considerably in the first half of this year, new figures have shown. According to the report from the Local Data Company (LDC), 20,804 shops opened their doors between January and the end of June, which represented a fall of 15% compared to the second half of 2015.

The LDC attributed the reduction to concerns surrounding the wider global economy, coupled with Britain's vote to leave the European Union - but pointed out that Brexit could not be blamed for the unexpected slowdown in the first few months of the year.

Shop closures also fell during the six-month period, dipping 5% to 22,801. However, this still meant there were 1,997 more closures than openings within this timeframe. 

Report: Financial scams committed every 15 seconds

A new report has revealed the extent to which consumers in the UK are being targeted by financial scammers. The findings from Financial Fraud Action (FFA) revealed that a financial scam was committed once every 15 seconds between January and June this year, with more than one million cases representing a 53% climb on the same period in 2015.

These types of scams include everything from card, cheque and phone fraud to online fraud, and while many people are able to retrieve what they have lost, others never receive a refund - often because they are embarrassed by being duped.

Katy Worobec, Director of the FFA, said of a new Take Five campaign aimed at encouraging people to be more careful with their details and money: "We are asking people to take five - to take that moment - to pause and think before they respond to any financial requests and share any personal or financial details." 

Young and old 'divided by housing costs'

Housing costs are causing further divide between young people and older people by playing a significant role in where these demographics are choosing to live, new research from the Intergenerational Foundation has suggested.

Using Census data from 1991, 2001 and 2011, as well as data from the Office for National Statistics on rural-urban classification from 2011, the foundation discovered that while older homeowners are becoming more and more isolated in suburbs, young families are increasingly moving into cities.

Co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation Angus Halton commented: "We are drifting towards a two-tier society where the young are ghettoised, paying high rents in city centres to older landlords living it up in rural and suburban bliss." 

GlaxoSmithKline appoints new Chief Executive

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive, with its Head of Consumer Healthcare Emma Walmsley to take over from Andrew Witty. The appointment means that Ms Walmsley will become the first woman to lead one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies.

The news resulted in shares in GSK falling by around 1% in early morning trading on Tuesday, but Chairman Philip Hampton commented: "Under Andrew's leadership, GSK has successfully developed into a company with market-leading positions in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare. These provide excellent platforms for sustainable, long-term growth, and we are confident Emma will successfully build on these strengths."