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16,000 stores closed during 2019

The retail crisis engulfing Britain’s embattled high streets led to 16,073 stores closing during 2019, the Centre for Retail Research’s “retail in crisis” end-of-year report has revealed. 

This year, large retailers with 10 or more stores closed 5,901 shops, up 79% on the 3,303 stores that closed in 2018. 

Independent retailers closed 10,172 stores, which is a fall of almost 10% compared with the 11,280 shops they closed in 2018.

Overall, the total number of shops pulling their shutters for the final time rose by 1,490 during 2019 from the 14,583 closed in 2018.

Joshua Bamfield, director at the Centre for Retail Research, anticipates another tough year ahead for high streets, and predicts that store closures will rise by around 9% to 17,565 during 2020. He said “the commercial pressures of higher labour costs, business rates and relatively weak demand will continue to undercut profits and force the weakest companies to close stores or enter administration. The high street and suburbs will continue to decline.”

Fashion chains including Debenhams, Bonmarché, Mothercare, Select Fashion, Karen Millen and Jack Wills all went into administration in 2019.

Bamfield added: “In 2020, further announcements from companies that have already gone through CVAs or administration may well result in cutbacks on their existing operations.”

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