Data from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) has revealed recently that one in five retail stores on the high street are predicted to close in the next five years as changing purchasing trends continue to affect the sector.
The figures will make alarming but unsurprising reading as it is expected that total store numbers will fall by 22 per cent to 220,000 in 2018, causing approximately 316,000 job losses. Additionally, a further 150+ medium and large sized companies are expected to lose over half their stores as they are anticipated to go into administration over the five year period, causing around 140,000 redundancies and the loss of 22,600 units.
The report, Retail Futures 2018, states that consumer spending has increased by 12% since 2006 but operating costs for retailers have increased by 20%. It’s author, CRR director Professor Joshua Bamfield, recommends in the report that 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.
Bamfield says of the challenge ahead: “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.”