The worst of the financial crisis may be behind us, but the year ahead promises to be a challenging one for retail.
The Mirror reports that CRR boss Professor Joshua Bamfield believes that up to 12,000 shops could fold in 2014 with “fashion chains, chemists, jewellers, newsagents and health and beauty stores” the most likely victims.
Looking further ahead he foresees the closure of 61,000 shops – representing one on five – by 2018.
“The decline of high streets is accelerating,” Bamfield stated. “Our research shows around 12,000 stores may close this year, an increase of 2,000 over 2013.
“The high street’s share of retail sales, which was 50 per cent in 2001, is expected to drop below 40 per cent this year. By 2018 it could be 33 per cent.
“High rents and rates, fewer shoppers, the closure of uneconomic high street shops, internet retailers and high parking charges have made it hard for remaining stores to survive.”
Bamfield has also called for the UK Government to freeze business rates for two years and link them to turnover.