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Report predicts 20,000 shops to be lost following coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 14:21 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:46 25 March 2020

A new report has warned that more than 20,000 shops in the UK could close by the end of the year. Picture: Archant

A new report has warned that more than 20,000 shops in the UK could close by the end of the year. Picture: Archant

Archant

A new report has warned that more than 20,000 shops in the UK could close by the end of the year.

The Centre for Retail Research has said that the sector was already under pressure given week consumer demand, high business rates, and the rapid growth of online shopping.

However experts at the Norwich-based facility have said that the outbreak of the coronavirus – and the subsequent lockdown of the UK – will make matters worse.

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Professor Joshua Bamfield, director at the centre in Rose Lane, said: “We expect large retail businesses to now be looking at exactly how many stores they expect to operate in 2021 and beyond in order to trade successfully moving forward. They will now make plans to achieve those objectives.”

The report – Coronavirus: Lost Lives, Lost Sores, and Lost Jobs - does expect a moderate ‘V’ type shape of recovery.

The report says this will occur once stringent lockdown measures are lifted with a possible “splurge of cash by late summer”.

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Should the predicted closures come to fruition, the total amount would be 20,620 - up by 4,547 on 2019.

The report added that as a result job losses could rise to 235,714 - up by 92,576 compared with 2019.

In part this could be due to store closures, but also given retailers looking to cut overheads and staffing ratios.

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Professor Bamfield said: “The government’s business job retention and interruption schemes coupled with the one years rates holiday for retailers will have limited significance.”

However, the report added that 2020 may be the best year for supermarkets and grocers since 2011 with consumers filling their fridges.

Nationally an expected 45,000 are set to be recruited to help man the aisles.

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