Tuesday 19 November 2019 11:55 am

Major UK high street chains close 6,000 stores in 2019

Major UK high street chains have closed almost 6,000 stores so far this year as the retail industry continues to struggle with high rents, business rates and slumping sales. 

Retailers with 10 or more stores have shuttered 5,834 branches between 1 January and 30 September, an increase of 77 per cent on last year. 

Read more: UK retail sales unexpectedly fall in October

During the period, 333 shops were closed using company voluntary arrangements (CVAs), a controversial restructuring process that allows retailers to shut shops and seek rent cuts. 

In total 708 stores were closed due to administration, and 4793 were shut down as part of cost-cutting programmes, according to reports. 

Jack Wills, Patisserie Valerie and Karen Millen are among the well-known high street retailers to shutter stores so far this year. 

Mothercare recently announced all of its 79 UK stores will close, putting thousands of jobs at risk, after deciding its UK retail arm was not profitable. 

A second parent and baby retailer, Mamas & Papas, closed six stores through a pre-pack administration deal just days later, while card retailer Clintons is preparing to ask landlords to vote on its CVA plans. 

Retailers have cited business rates as a key issue in the upcoming election, and called on the next government to do more to help the struggling UK high street. 

Read more: London’s New Bond Street has the most expensive retail rents in Europe

Last month the Federation of Small Businesses urged the chancellor to change the rules on business rates. 

Among the FSB’s requests was that small retailers whose so-called rateable property value is under £51,000 be allowed to claim up to 50 per cent off their rates bills, up from the current allowance of up to 33 per cent relief.

It also called for the small business rates relief threshold to be more than doubled from £12,000 to at least £30,000.

Main image credit: Getty

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