Worrying times for shops on high street

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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RETAIL chains are shutting shops at a rate of more than 30 a day across the UK, research revealed today.

Figures show that nationwide retailers closed 32 stores a day in July and August, up from 20 a day in the first six months of 2012.

Clinton Cards stores were under threat and in the summer, the Fareham store closed down.

Meanwhile, high street stores such as Game and Peacocks have both recently suffered closures, with Game’s Cascades store in Portsmouth shutting.

High profile administrations of these retailers saw the number of town centre chain store closures soar to 953 in the first half on a net basis.

This compared with 174 throughout the whole of 2011, according to the study of 500 town centres by the Local Data Company for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The south east was the worst affected in the first half with 215 net closures.

Toy shops, clothes stores, gift shops, jewellers, card shops and furniture chains have been shutting shops.

Among the retailers to have collapsed in recent months, 133 JJB Sports stores are to close, despite a deal to sell 20 to rival Sports Direct International.

Mike Jervis, PwC insolvency partner and retail specialist, said many retailers are failing because they are tied into long onerous leases that they can’t afford.

He said: ‘Where over-expansion has already taken place, retailers need to face that reality and formulate a strategic plan in partnership with landlords, not in confrontation with them.’

But the rise of discount shops, convenience outlets and charity stores continued across UK high streets in the first half of the year.

There were seven per cent more discount stores in the first six months on a net basis and 11 per cent more payday loan outlets.