Report predicts 20% of shops in Britain will close by 2018 as consumers turn to internet

Study by Centre for Retail Research warns 62,000 shops will fold in next five years


More than one in five of Britain’s high street shops could close by 2018 as more customers turn to the internet for their shopping, new research claims.

The study, carried out by the Centre for Retail Research,warned that 62,000 shops would fold in the next five years.

The UK independent retail analysis group estimated that around 316,000 workers would lose their jobs as a result of the downturn in high street shopping.

The report, Retail Futures 2018, suggests the country needs a £320million to redevelop redundant shopping streets and convert disused outlets.

Online shopping currently accounts for 12.7 per cent of retail spending. However, this is expected to surge to 22 per cent by 2018.

Professor Joshua Bamfield’s report said the first closures will be pharmacies and health and beauty stores, followed by those selling music, books, cards, stationery and gifts, as well as DIY outlets.

Prof Bamfield said: “The total number of UK retail stores will fall by 22 per cent over the next five years from 281,930 to 220,000 in 2018.”

“If no action is taken, store vacancy rates could almost double to 24 per cent. Already this year, 16 major retailers have gone into administration operating 1,985 shops and employing 14,719 staff.”

“By the end of 2018, research predicts that a further 164 companies will go bust, taking 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees with them.”