Coronavirus: Pandemic triggers record high UK shop closures

Coronavirus: Pandemic triggers record high UK shop closures

Despite the record-breaking figure, shop closures could climb further according to analysts.

UK shop closures hit an all-time high figure as a result of the pandemic which continues to hammer the sector since it spread across the country. Analysts, however, expect the current number to rise as some shops that have closed indefinitely during the lockdown could have stopped their operations permanently now.

U.K. shop closures surge

According to new data released by the Local Data Company and the PwC, an estimated 11, 120 shops disappeared from high streets through January until June when city lockdowns were in effect.

At the same time, a total of 5, 119 stores have opened only which left U.K. shop closures to surge by 6, 001. The number climbed twice compared to last year’s figure of 3, 509 as well.

Coronavirus: Pandemic triggers record high UK shop closures

The data which covers shopping centers, high streets, and retail parks across Wales, England and Scotland also showed that over 60 stores have closed daily, while 28 have opened.

Analysts, on the other hand, predict the number to rise further as the data does not include shops that temporarily shut their doors during lockdown when the researchers visited high streets and other shopping venues.

Analysts said those that were not included might have ended up permanently closed.

Worse is yet to come

Lucy Stainton from the Local Data Company explained that the rise in shop closures was apparently a “stark reminder of challenges faced by retailers in the first six months of the year.”

With nearly 22% of stores still closed, the head of retail and strategic partnerships also fears the data is only the tip of the iceberg. She also added the crippling impact the national curfew could incur in the sector.

“Unless further government stimulus is announced, we’re guaranteed to see further closures,” the report says.

Shopping centers were the hardest-hit, according to the research.

Previously, the national government launched a campaign urging white-collar employees to return to office as an effort to save city and town centers. The initiative was halted however after Prime Minister Boris Johnson advice workers to continue working from home “if possible.”

On the other hand, PwC’s consumer markets leader said the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping and that the health crisis “forced experimentation” during the lockdown.

“We all knew that consumers were shifting to shopping online or changing their priorities in terms of the things they buy, but what Covid-19 has done is create a step-change in these underlying trends to where they have now become the new normal,” Lisa Hooker explained, per The Guardian.

Images courtesy by Burst/Pexels, PwC

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