Online Retail Competition To Close 1 in 5 Shops by 2018 – UK Report

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internet-shoppingA British study forecasts major decline in the number of retail shops. Will the US see a similar decline? Will increasing Internet sales and declining retail stores cause a reduction in malls? Stay tuned. Here is the London Telegraph’s story:

20pc of shops to shut by 2018
By Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent
ONE in five shops — more than 60,000 throughout the UK — will close over the next five years, a report claims.
The study, from the Centre for Retail Research, said shops were facing a crisis from falling consumer spending and the rising cost of conducting business.
It estimated that by 2018, 22 per cent of high street shops will have gone, a total of 61,930 closures in the UK, leading to 316,000 job losses. The report said the hardest hit would be pharmacy and health and beauty stores with one in three shops, about 5,170 stores, expected to close.
It also forecast a decline in DIY (do-it-yourself) shops which have “become much less popular as a result of more pressured lives, lack of skills among younger people and the fall in the number of people who move house every year”.
The number of supermarkets was expected to rise by 10 per cent, or more than 900, by 2018, taking the total to 10,111. The Telegraph is running a Reinvent the High Street campaign to put the heart back into the traditional high street. The research report blamed business failures, large retailers cutting back outlets and the reluctance of entrepreneurs to start new businesses or to take on premises.
The forecast confirmed a trend, with 16 major retailers that employ 14,719 staff in 1,985 shops going into administration this year. The report highlighted the success of a “click and collect” service whereby consumers buy merchandise online and collect it from the store. Argos has reported that more than 30 per cent of its sales are made using this system.
Prof Joshua Bamfield, a director of the Centre for Retail Research, said retailers had to change to survive. “Customers now shop in multiple ways, checking a store’s website, visiting stores, reading reviews and making online price comparisons with smart phones whilst shopping. 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, smartphone offering and social media community coherently.”
For another view of the report, click here for The Independent’s story.

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