Online retail to hit the high street, as its revealed one in five shops 'could close by 2018'

Report warns that 62,000 shops would fold in next five years

A new study from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) says that over the next five years, the number of UK retail stores will drop from 281,930 to 220,000 if current trends continue.

In addition, there could be some 316,000 job losses in the same period due to what the CRR describes as the “growing retail crisis”.

The share of consumer spending going to high street stores is falling - it was 50% in 2000 and is predicted to drop to 40.2% by next year, according to the CRR. Meanwhile, online retail continues to grow and is predicted to account for 21.5% of all retail sales by 2018.

The report, Retail Futures 2018, states that consumer spending has increased by 12% since 2006 but operating costs for retailers have increased by 20%.

Its author, CRR director Professor Joshua Bamfield, said: “Customers now shop in multiple ways, checking a store's website, visiting stores, reading reviews and making online price comparisons with smart phones whilst shopping.

“Retailers have to make clear and strategic responses to the changing pattern of how consumers shop, which includes tactical decisions about store numbers and locations. They also need to fully integrate these physical stores with their websites, smart phone offerings and social media community coherently.

“Going forward, I think retail stores will remain an important, although smaller, part of the shopping process as online retail continues to grow.”

Wales is set to suffer the largest number of store closures, with 29% of high street shops at risk, followed by the North West, with 28% of stores predicted to shut, according to the CRR. The lowest number would be in London, where 9% of shops could close, they said.

The CRR said store vacancy rates have risen from 5.4% in December 2008 to 14.1% in March 2013, an increase of 161%. They warn store vacancy rates could double from current levels in the next five years, reaching 24% by 2018.

They also predict that 164 retail firms could go into administration in the same period, having an impact on 22,600 shops and 140,000 staff.

Local shops are also set to be hit in the next five years, falling by 26% - or 34,587 shops - by 2018 as customers migrate to online shopping, retail parks and town centre stores, said the CRR.

Professor Bamfield said: “The performance of the retail sector has been thrust into the media spotlight in the past two years as the Government formed an alliance with celebrity retail expert Mary Portas.

“The subsequent report set out a range of initiatives to breathe life back into the high street. This is a mammoth task which requires high levels of funding and extremely tight management, both of which are challenging to say the least.

“High streets need to combine the enthusiasm generated by Mary Portas with realistic and well-managed plans. The focus should be on declining secondary and tertiary sites in lower income areas.”

His report also recommends the Government invests £320 million to revive problem town centres by turning empty shops into accommodation and creating leisure, entertainment and business facilities to attract more consumers.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea