A fifth of UK retail shops could close by 2018

New figures have been released which state 20% of all high street shops could close down by 2018. The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) says that as more people turn to the internet for their shopping, this will put pressure on shops on the high street.

The CRR, which conducts research into retail, technology and crime, say this would equate to 62,000 shops closing down across the UK. It could results in a loss of 316,000 jobs.

The research group said online shopping will continue to expand and around 22% of all shopping will be online.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, writer of the report, stated that pharmacies and health and beauty stores would be the first to go, followed by music, books, cards and stationery and gift stores.

The report also compared the cost of opening a high street store and an online warehouse.

They found opening a small store on the high street in the Midlands, would cost around £10,000 per month, whereas opening a warehouse on the outskirts of a similar town would cost up to £1,800 per month.

The director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Helen Dickinson, said the country needs to get used to a high street with a different look and feel in the future.

The CRR estimates there are around 280,000 shops open around the country. The organisation predicted around 220,000 shops would be left by 2018..

Sixteen major retailers have gone into administration this year, with a loss of almost 15,000 jobs. He latest figures by the Office for National Statistics showed retail sales volumes in April were 0.5% higher than a year earlier.

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