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Coronavirus: One in 10 UK high street shops could close for good as £9bn in sales lost

·2-min read
New Bond Street
New Bond Street stands empty with shops closed during the peak of the pandemic in March in London, England. Nearly 14,000 shops have closed this year, according to a report. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty

One in 10 high street shops could close for good, as retail continues to reel from the £9bn ($11.6bn) spending hole caused by coronavirus lockdowns.

New data, released by the Centre for Retail Research, found nearly 14,000 shops have closed this year, a 24.8% increase on the same period a year ago.

Fashion, home and non-food retailers were the hardest hit, as “non-essential” retailers were shut for months at the peak of lockdowns.

Alongside this, development bosses are poised to switch their properties to other uses, according to a survey of more than 400 people in the industry. So far, £155m has been earmarked for making this change.

Consultancy Altus Group found in its annual Global Property Trends Report that 38% of executives had already switched retail spaces, and 57% were thinking about following suit.

Watch: What is a recession?

The news comes as new data shows that targeted lockdowns are starting to have an impact on high street footfall.

The volume of shoppers across all British retail destinations fell by 3% last week, compared with the previous week, according to researcher Springboard.

READ MORE: Aldi to create 4,000 roles and open 100 new stores as profits soar

It said that footfall had risen 1.1% and 0.9% in retail parks and shopping centres, however the high street had suffered a 6.8% dip.

Footfall declined by an average of 11% from Wednesday to Sunday, following Tuesday’s announcement from the government that reiterated that people should work from home if they can.

British retailers have cut the most jobs since the depths of the financial crisis and expect the pace of losses to accelerate, the Confederation of British Industry said in August, adding to warning signs of an expected sharp rise in unemployment.

Watch: What are the new job support schemes and grants for the self-employed?

Retail bosses have previously warned that strong sales following the relaxation of lockdowns “masks a crisis” in parts of the industry, with town and city centre firms’ survival at stake as they struggle with lower footfall and rent bills.

A wave of high street firms have announced lay-offs in recent months.

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