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Consumers fear for high street as more retail Goliaths are felled

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More than 60% of people in the UK are worried the high street will disappear over the next 10 years, according to a new report.

The data, produced by KIS Finance, shows that the increasing number of big-name store closures was the cause of the fears.

Debenhams is one of the most recent large retailers to suffer on the high street as online competition becomes stiffer.

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On Friday it revealed the first set of 20 stores it will be closing as part of its move to shut 50.

Consumers in the survey of 1,000 people said if high streets had free parking and easy accessibility, they would be more likely to shop in store.

Mobility shops in particular need good parking and accessibility if they are to thrive in the high street environment.

Holly Andrews, managing director at KIS Finance, commented: “With store closures flooding our newsfeeds recently, we were interested to find out what the future holds for the high street and how consumers’ shopping habits might affect retailers’ footfall.

“It is obvious from our research that people do still like going into store to shop, but it just isn’t as accessible as online shopping is.

“To save the high street many retailers need to ensure that they are thinking innovatively about how to draw customers in with clearer in-store stock checks, more staff and extended hours during busy periods.

“The reason why so many retailers are struggling with their stores is because consumer shopping habits are changing and the high street needs to change with it, creating a more community led atmosphere with more accessibility and variety for everyone.”

Northern cities and Scotland have been worst hit by store closures so far, but people are anticipating there will be many more to come.

James Child, retail analyst at EG and a partner in the work, said: “It is quite likely that there will be a continuation, if not an increase of the negative headlines in retail.

“The raft of CVA’s and administrations in the sector has culminated in an expected 1,600 store closures across the UK, with over 18 million square foot of prime retail real estate vacated.

“When we break down the events of 2018 there are some trends which appear to be continuing into 2019 – due to fragile trading conditions and economic uncertainty.

“There are certain sub-sectors that will face more pressure than others. The fallout from department stores will continue at pace, following the problems with House of Fraser last year, and now with the future of Debenhams at risk.”

Image: Matt Cardy/Getty

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Joe Peskett

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