DEBENHAMS collapse risks further job losses and experts warn it is ‘only the tip of the iceberg’, the report by PwC reveals 5,833 shops shut in 2018, but only 3,372 were opened, an overall loss of 2,481 stores this is the biggest annual decline on record.
Figures come after Knight Frank report showed one in eight shops is lying empty
Debenhams plans to close 50 of its 166 stores, and household names including Marks & Spencer, Topshop owner Arcadia, New Look and Boots are also shutting shops.
Last night the British Retail Consortium warned the situation would only get worse unless ministers stepped in to ease the ‘immense cost pressures’ shops face, including crippling business rates.
Dave Lewis, the boss of supermarket giant Tesco, last month called for a levy on internet retailers that could fund a 20 per cent cut in business rates shops were forced to pay.
John Timpson, chairman of Timpson and author of the Government’s High Street Report, said: ‘Business rates need to be fairer between online and bricks-and-mortar retailing, it’s not a level playing field.
‘I’m not sure whether the Government don’t want to make it work or don’t know how to make it work.’
PwC said 16 stores closed per day in 2018, the same rate as the previous year, but the number of openings fell.