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Going, going, gone: 953 shops belonging to big retailers closed in the first half of 2012

The UK’s struggling retail chains are closing their shops at a rate of more than 30 a day across the UK as the economic downturn continues, according to research.

Figures show that across the UK embattled retailers closed 32 stores a day in July and August as Britain’s high street continued to suffer from the consumer spending slump. That figure is up from 20 a day in the first six months of 2012.

High-profile administrations this year of major retailers including Game Group, Peacocks, Past Times and Clinton Cards helped push the number of closures of town centre chain store outlets to 953 in the first half on a net basis (meaning those closing minus those opening).

That compared with 174 in the whole of 2011, according to the study of 500 town centres by the retail data provider Local Data Company (LDC). for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The figures will spark more concern among campaigners and politicians that Britain’s high streets are being abandoned by the retail chains, leading to long-term damage as stores are boarded up and shoppers head to out-of-town centres.

After David Cameron appointed the television presenter Mary Portas to come up with solutions to reverse the decline, she made 28 recommendations, including setting up “town teams” to strengthen the running of high streets.

According to today’s survey, the south-east was the worst affected area in the first half, with 215 net closures, followed by the West Midlands, with 160, and the south-west, with 129.

Shops selling computer games, toys, clothes, gifts, jewellery, cards, posters and furnitures were among the hardest hit in the first six months of 2012. JJB Sports, which is among the retailers to have collapsed in recent months, is to close 133 stores across the country despite a deal to sell 20 to its rival Sports Direct International.


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