More than 2,800 retail stores closed during first half of 2019

According to the latest industry research, around 16 shops are closing every single day on UK high streets as retailers look to restructure their businesses and adapt to increased levels of online shopping.

The research found that there was a net figure of 1,234 stores shut on Britain’s top 500 high streets during the first half of 2019, a figure up from 1,123 in the same period last year.

It also represents the highest numbers since the survey originated in 2010.

The most closures came from fashion retailers, followed by restaurants, estate agents and pubs. However, there was an increase in the number of takeaways and health clubs opening.

Experts believe that the decline in store numbers during the first half of the year shows there has been little change in the way people shop and the high costs affecting businesses operating on the High Street.

Retailers now have to invest more than previous years to keep stores relevant to today’s consumers, whilst many other retailers are looking for encouragement to help fill vacant spaces.

In the six months to the end of June, there were 1,634 stores opened, a 4 per cent increase on the same period last year. However, 2,868 stores closed during that time.

Many high-street retailers are continuing to face growing competition from online corporations such as Amazon, as they struggle to pay rents and other overheads including rising minimum wages and business rates.

This has led to well-established stores such as Toys R Us and BHS going into administration, whilst others such as Debenhams and New Look have resorted to large scale store closures.

The data found that around 10 fashion retail stores a week were closing, largely due to high profile administrations and restructurings.

Greater London saw the highest number of net closures from any region, mainly due to its higher number of shops. The East Midlands, North East, South East and Yorkshire and the Humber were the only regions to see fewer closures than last year.