More than 20,000 retail stores will close their doors for good in 2020 as a result of the increased pressure from the coronavirus outbreak, experts have forecast.
After having been ordered into temporary closure by prime minister Boris Johnson, a new report from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) has predicted that 20,620 stores are expected to close permanently this year.
This would represent a 28% rise in store closures compared with 2019.
CRR’s Coronavirus: Lost Lives, Lost Stores and Lost Jobs report also forecasts that 235,714 retail jobs are expected to go, despite an influx of temporary vacancies at supermarkets.
This would mark a 64% year-on-year increase in job losses.
Joshua Bamfield, director at CRR, said: “We expect large retail businesses to now be looking at exactly how many stores they expect to operate in 2021 and beyond in order to trade successfully moving forward. They will now make plans to achieve those objectives.”
Alex Probyn, UK president at the real estate adviser Altus Group, says large scale store closures will inevitably have a downward pressure on rents adding “the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, in particular, would be helped further if [the] government sticks to a reset of business rates on 1 April 2022, based on rents being paid on 1 April 2021.
”This will have the benefit of ensuring the next revaluation period takes account of the economic impact of Covid-19 delivering longer-term help with lower tax bills under the next cycle.”