The historic John Lewis store had been a fixture of Southsea for more than a century until it announced it was closing in January, with 127 people being made redundant.

34 shops, restaurants and businesses in the Portsmouth area that closed their doors in 2019

THE high street has experienced highs and lows throughout 2019, with some small businesses flourishing and some of the biggest firms closing down with no warning. This year’s Small Business Saturday may have seen record footfall, while but this year some of the biggest chains, such as Mothercare and Bonmarche, have gone into administration.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 6:05 am

Garry Lee, chairman of R3 Southern and Thames Valley, the trade body representing insolvency and restructuring professionals, said: ‘There are strong headwinds facing retail, in Portsmouth and other cities across the UK. The move from bricks to clicks is one major factor – online sales account for ever-rising retail spend and this is clearly hitting footfall because e-shoppers can order when and where they please from their smartphones. Furthermore, consumer confidence has been affected by Brexit and the long-lasting impact of the global financial crisis in 2008/9. Oversupply of floorspace in city centres has also compounded problems, exacerbated by high rents, business rates, market competition and rising wage bills.’ He added that stores would have to innovate to survive. ‘Key to breathing life into empty stores will be collaboration between landlords, the local authority and businesses, with stakeholders being open to creative thinking, such as co-working innovation hubs and “experience” shops, and adapting to changing consumer preferences.’

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