Health stores and pharmacies in front line of high street closures

Health stores, pharmacies and specialist beauty retailers will be in the front line of retail closures in the coming five years says a new report from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

The report warns that more than a fifth of Britain’s stores will close by 2018 as growing number of shoppers switch to internet shopping. Up to three in ten shops could go to the wall in the more deprrived parts of Wales and the North West.

CRR expects the internet’s share of retail sales to almost double over the next five years. The Centre says the major chains have already placed a halt on most new large developments as they rapidly rethink their business models.

The report highlights the differences in rent between traditional high shops and internet-based operators. It says a small shop on a Midlands high street would cost around £10,000 a month to rent. The equivalent space in a warehouse on the outskirts of Corby, Northamptonshire, achieving the same sales online, would cost up to £1,800 a month – with lower business rates and no parking charges for customers.

The Retail Futures 2018 report  – which uses latest national data on store closures and openings – says 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.

CRR says a Britain’s high streets need “an urgent revisiting”. Multi-channel retail is already the reality, the Centre says, and while bricks and mortar shops will continue to have a major role in the new retail landscape they will be significantly fewer in numbers. The Centre says that measures need to be taken to support viable retailers but that local authorities should make plans to  convert many town centre properties into housing, offices or other amenities