Shock new figures reveal 20,000 stores are now boarded up amid online competition

Mail Online | 4/5/2019 | Hannah Uttley City Correspondent For The Daily Mail
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One in eight shops in Britain is lying empty, bleak figures revealed last night.

In a sign of the crisis crippling the high street, nearly 20,000 stores are boarded up. It comes as a string of household names – including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia – plan further closures.

Cities - Towns - Villages - Country - Consumers

Cities, towns and villages across the country have been hit as consumers switch online and shops are forced out of business by sky-high rents and crippling rates.

Experts last night warned that Britain was losing its status as ‘a nation of shopkeepers’.

Proportion - Street - Shops - Empty - Decade

The proportion of high street shops lying empty has soared over the past decade, from 5.4 per cent in late 2008 to 12.8 per cent last month, figures published by estate agents Knight Frank and the Local Data Company show.

It means 19,806 out of 154,869 shops are vacant. The figures do not include banks, restaurants, cafes, bars and other leisure outlets such as hairdressers or nail salons.

Crisis - Daily - Mail - Save - High

The crisis has been highlighted by the Daily Mail’s Save Our High Streets campaign, which calls for an overhaul of business rates and a level playing field between bricks-and-mortar retailers and internet-only firms such as Amazon.

Thousands of stores closed last year and more than 175,000 jobs are predicted to disappear from the high street this year.

Laith - Khalaf - Analyst - Hargreaves - Lansdown

Laith Khalaf, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘Britain might not be a nation of shopkeepers much longer given the extensive decline of the high street.

‘While physical retailers have struggled to make ends meet, a new breed of digital upstarts are taking their place.

Betts - Labour - MP - Chairman - Housing

Clive Betts, a Labour MP and chairman of the housing and local government committee, added: ‘There are fewer physical shops around because people are shopping online and that is simply going to continue.

Further figures reveal that the crisis is likely to get...
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