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Department store numbers fall by quarter

The number of large department stores in England has been slashed by a quarter in less than a decade, new research has shown.

A report by peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy found that the number of large department stores fell from 240 in 2009 to 180 in 2016. The total number of shops fell from 407,000 to 403,000 during the same period.

Lendy said department stores had been more negatively affected than the rest of the high street by online shopping, as the heavy debt burdens carried by their owners had hampered their own investment in ecommerce and store refurbishment.

Department store group House of Fraser plans to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) next month that includes rent cuts and store closures. Debehnams is also restructuring. Marks & Spencer announced last week that it is to close 100 stores.

Liam Brooke, co-founder of Lendy, said: “The falling number of department stores shows they have borne much of the brunt of the shift towards internet shopping.

“Local authorities will have to consider whether they want to make it easier to change the use of department stores to being partly residential, as it will be hard to fill these properties with new tenants.”



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