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Over 23,000 stores predicted to disappear from the high street in 2019

By Huw Hughes


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It looks like 2019 could be another difficult year for UK retail, with more than 23,000 shops forecast to close, resulting in a further 175,000 job losses, according to an annual report from real estate adviser Altus Group.

Published on Monday, the findings suggest that 2019 could be even worse than 2018, which saw a drop in independent stores and increased store closures throughout the country.

Last year was a difficult year for UK retail, with big names like Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, New Look and Laura Ashley struggling amid difficult trading conditions. So why has it been so hard? Well, according to Altus Group’s report, 62 percent of the major UK property owners and investors surveyed said that online players like Amazon have disrupted the retail property market. A further 78 percent said that the increasing popularity of “experiential” retail amongst customers was affecting their investment decisions.

2019 set to be another tough year for Britain’s high streets

Last week, figures from Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index showed that consumer spending fell in eight months of 2018 - largely driven by a disappointing performance by the struggling high street - with in-store spending down -1.6 percent on an annual basis. Growth in ecommerce spending rose 0.5 percent, up from November’s 0.4 percent. Earlier this month, data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that growth in the UK economy had slowed in the three months to November to its weakest pace in six months.

Brexit uncertainty was also an added concern for retail last year, and looks to continue into 2019. Businesses are feeling left in the dark about what is to come, with many spending time and money building contingency plans for the potential outcome of a no-deal Brexit. “A no-deal Brexit means the public will face higher prices and less choice on the shelves,” said the British Retail Consortium chief executive, Helen Dickinson, in a statement last week. “This really is crunch time and politicians must come together around a workable solution that safeguards consumers from the costs and disruptions of new constraints on the tariff-free.”

On Monday, Theresa May will try to convince Tory and DUP MPs to back her withdrawal deal following its landslide defeat in parliament last week.

Photo credit: FashionUnited

Altus Group
consumer spend
High street
Store closures