Number of shops starts to decline

The woes of the UK high street will be laid bare today by data showing that store numbers fell for the first time in nearly four years in the second quarter.

Despite this, the actual level of employment, in effect the total hours worked, in the retail sector increased by 1.8 per cent between April and June, although the fastest growth was among part-time workers at the big supermarkets.

There were 0.5 per cent fewer shops, equal to 88 fewer stores, as retailers closed underperforming outlets, according to the British Retail Consortium and Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor survey.

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