The collapse of retailers including La Senza, Jane Norman and Internacionale resulted in the loss of 4,900 jobs and 753 store closures last year.
According to insolvency firm FRP Advisory, only 42% of the 1,270 stores impacted by the 13 major retail administrations in 2014 survive. However, it added that this was an improvement on the previous year, in which only 35% survived.
FRP Advisory said more stores were saved in 2014 because Phones 4U’s portfolio was partly swallowed up by its competitors. Excluding Phones 4U, the survival rate in 2014 fell to the lowest rate in four years both for staff, at 24%, and stores, at 33%.
The 4,900 jobs lost were out of a potentially affected total of 9,800. As a result, the average staff survival rate increased marginally to 50% in 2014 from 48% in 2013.
The insolvency firm said three major high street administrations had led to the closure of 125 stores during the first quarter of 2015, leading to a store survival rate of 70%, up from 42% compared with the same period the year before.
Glyn Mummery, partner at FRP Advisory, said: “The high street has finally turned a corner and is re-emerging after four years of significant store culling, in a fitter albeit leaner shape with retailers having to cope with a new norm of tougher operating margins but boosted by a return in consumer confidence and spending power helped by cheaper fuel costs.
“We anticipate that for the 18 months ahead, as the economy continues to hold firm with consumer confidence spreading further onwards from London and the Southeast, there will be fewer retail failures overall.”