‘One in five shops to close as ecommerce grows’

One in five high street shops are expected to close in the next five years, according to a new report as separate survey finds a third of consumers now do most of their shopping online.

Shoppers on Oxford Street in December.
London’s Oxford Street VIP shopping day in December attracted shoppers but high streets face closures.

More than 60,000 high streets shops are predicted to close and 164 retail chains to go into administration, according to the Retail Futures 2018 report by the Centre for Retail Research. The closures are predicted despite the Government-backed Portas Pilot scheme designed to revive local high streets.

Consumer spending has increased just 12 per cent since 2006 and the high street’s share of spending remains in decline. It is expected to fall to 40.2 per cent by 2014, down from 50 per cent in 2000, according to the report.

Online retail is expected to account for 21.5 per cent of total retail spending in the next five years, up from 12.7 per cent currently, making it the highest share of spend of any territory in the world.

The report claims retailers now need just 70 stores nationwide alongside an online operation to achieve a strong national presence, compared with 250 stores needed a decade ago, signalling the shift away from physical outlets.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of Centre for Retail Research, says:  “Retailers have to make clear and strategic responses to the changing pattern of how consumers shop, which includes tactical decisions about store numbers and locations. They also need to fully integrate these physical stores with their websites, smart phone offering and social media community coherently. I think retail stores will remain an important, although smaller, part of the shopping process as online retail continues to grow.”

Meanwhile, a separate survey of 2,000 consumers by comparison site broadbandchoces.co.uk, found more than a third of shoppers do most of their shopping online and average online spend has doubled to £113 a month in the last 10 years.

A quarter of respondents expect to increase the amount they spend online over the next year.

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