More than 30,000 store chains are in financial trouble as crisis grips the High Street, according to a report.
A total of 30,574 general retailers are suffering significant financial distress, up 4 per cent on a year ago, analysis by consultant Begbies Traynor claims.
The findings suggest the wave of store closures that has swept through British towns and cities is unlikely to slow, and that more household names may be at risk.
Crisis: A total of 30,574 general retailers are suffering significant financial distress, up 4 per cent on a year ago
More than 61,000 shops shut in the five years to 2017 and 50,000 retail jobs have been axed this year alone as High Street chains try to save money and come up with fresh tactics.
Julie Palmer of Begbies Traynor said: ‘The UK High Street has been having a torrid time of late, with growing competition from online rivals, higher staff costs and rising business rates pushing many retailers to the point of no return.
‘Retailers who are most exposed to increases in business rates, and those that have failed to invest in technology and growing their customer base through marketing, are only going to lag further behind the pack. These retailers are typically already indebted or financially constrained.’
Her comments came as the boss of convenience chain McColl’s warned that retailers are facing the toughest conditions for three decades. The crisis has been highlighted by the Mail’s Save Our High Streets campaign, which is calling for reform of business rates, cuts to car park charges and a fair tax on internet retailers to level the playing field. Marks & Spencer alone has announced plans to axe 100 stores over the next four years and department chain House Of Fraser is axing 31 shops. Both blamed punishing business rates.
The Begbies Traynor survey found that 472,183 firms across all industries were in significant distress at the end of June, a rise of 9 per cent on 2017. Support services companies such as maintenance firms, call centres and marketing are most at risk, with 112,434 struggling to stay afloat.
There were 60,208 construction firms, 42,254 real estate businesses and 31,770 telecoms firms at risk. The report said the growth in distressed firms is slowing but retailers are facing an increasingly uncertain environment.