More shop closures to hit UK high streets

Stat of the day: Three out of 10 high street shops will close over the next five years, says a new report by Deloitte.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The Store of the Future report is released on the same morning that videogame retailer Game finds its shares suspended. The struggling firm has been declared 'without value' by its management with losses of £18m expected for the year to January and a looming £21m rent bill and £12m wage pay-out to boot. It seems that retail chains simply cannot sustain high volumes of outlets in the current climate. And it's going to get worse, according to Deloitte.

Retailers will have to reduce their property portfolios by 30-40%, it says, in order to adapt to the changing consumer landscape. Online retail is still growing apace, stealing custom from the traditional offline stores - 23% of all our shopping will be carried out online by 2016. And competition is squeezing margins ever lower.

Add this trend to soaring property prices, high rates and subdued consumer spending and you have the perfect retail storm. Silvia Rindone, director at Deloitte's retail division, puts it bluntly: 'The majority of UK retailers have simply got too many stores,' he says.

This research echoes the warning issued by shopping guru Mary Portas last year. She said that Britain’s high streets, in their current incarnation, would not survive the financial turmoil. 'Many are sickly, others are on the critical list and some are now dead,' she warned. But, with so many brands fighting to survive already, backs against a wall, can change come quickly enough to reverse the high street's fortunes?

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