Retail chains shut 30 shops a day

Retail chains are shutting shops at a rate of more than 30 a day across the UK, research has revealed.

Figures show that nationwide retailers closed 32 stores a day in July and August, up from 20 a day in the first six months of 2012 as Britain's high street suffers amid a consumer spending slump.

High profile administrations of retailers including Game, Peacocks and Clintons saw the number of town centre chain store closures soar to 953 in the first half on a net basis - those closing less those opening.

This compared with 174 throughout the whole of 2011, according to the study of 500 town centres by the Local Data Company for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The South East was the worst affected in the first half with 215 net closures, followed by the West Midlands with 160 and the South West with 129. Towns and cities badly hit included Manchester, Preston, Bristol, Croydon, Sheffield, Derby and Leicester.

Toy shops, clothes stores, gift shops, jewellers, card shops and furniture chains were shutting shops in their droves.

Among the retailers to have collapsed in recent months, 133 JJB Sports stores are to close across the country despite a deal to sell 20 to rival Sports Direct International. Many chains are also pulling out of loss-making sites and putting expansion plans on hold to weather tough trading.

Mike Jervis, PwC insolvency partner and retail specialist, said many retailers are failing because they are tied into long onerous leases that they can no longer afford. He said they need to work with landlords to help stem the flow of company failures.

"Where over-expansion has already taken place, retailers need to face that reality and formulate a strategic plan in partnership with landlords, not in confrontation with them," he added.

But the rise of discount shops, convenience outlets and charity stores continued across UK high streets in the first half of the year. There were 7% more discount stores in the first six months on a net basis and 11% more payday loan outlets. The research also showed there were 11% more bureaux de change, 5% more convenience food stores, 8% more pawnbrokers and another 1% of charity shops.