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Fashion retailers to reduce store space by 6.6 million sq ft

Fashion retail space is predicted to reduce by 4,000 stores in the UK by 2015, according to research by Conlumino.

The study by retail research specialist Conlumino found that, in order to maintain profitability, around 3,900 individual fashion shops will close by 2015, which equates to about 6.6m sq ft of space.

The growth of online retailers will create a situation where the costs of running a physical fashion store outstrips the available increase in sales. The study, commissioned by online marketing firm Webloyalty, found that although the predicted growth in the fashion retail sector is £7.9bn by 2015, once inflation is stripped out the spend at physical stores will rise by just 5%. However, the cost of running stores on the high street is forecast to increase by 10.2%.

Neil Saunders, managing director of Conlumino, said this is not necessarily bad news for the fashion industry but that physical stores need to find their place in the multichannel environment:

“Buying fashion today is a much more complex process than it was in the recent past,” said Saunders.

“Fashion stores are becoming polarised into those that act as points of contact or for functional purposes and those that add significant value, are more experiential and act as brand enhancers”.

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