Britain’s high streets in “turmoil” as 14 shops close a day

LONDON, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — Britain’s high streets, a British concept of the primary business street in towns or cities, are in “turmoil” as thousands of shops close up and down the country, British experts said.

High street shops including well-known brands closed a rate of around 14 a day in the first half of the year, while openings were down a third, according to a recent new report.

The report came shortly after the British government said that the recent Budget has “high streets at its heart.”

Greater London and the South East were the regions worst hit by closures of chains, followed by the Midlands, the North East and East of England.

Retailers are battling the worst trading conditions for five years, the report said, with huge growth in internet shopping, business rates blamed for the challenging climate.

But there is also a trend towards “in-home leisure” as people prefer to spend their free time at home instead of going out, so restaurants and entertainment businesses have also been affected.

Some 24,205 retailers closed across 3,000 towns, cities, retail parks and shopping centers monitored by the Local Data Company in the first half of 2018.

The number of new openings declined by 2.1 percent to 19,803 over the six months, leaving 4,402 more gaps on the high street.

That total is more than double the number ever previously recorded since the monitor began five years ago.

PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted their own research of 500 town centers and saw 2,692 stores vanish, a rate of roughly 14 a day.

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