UK high streets are closing down

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Britain’s high streets are in trouble as major names and small businesses alike go bankrupt or close stores to consolidate.

In the past few weeks, the country’s largest toy chain Toys “R” Us and electronic giant Maplin have both gone bankrupt. The restaurant chain Prezzo is also to shut down up to 100 restaurants, while fashion chain New Look plans to close 60 of its nearly 600 stores.

One in ten of all UK shops across the country will close over the next two years, according to a prediction from Centre for Retail Research.

A high street in the UK /VCG Photo

Big businesses’ closing unprofitable stores makes life harder for local businesses. Hanif Shaikh, who has been running a fashion shop in Hackney for 25 years, said that business has never been so bad.

“Never seen it like this in 25 years,” said Shaikh, “the rents go up every five years, but sales are not going up, the profit margin is not there.”

Many high streets across the country are struggling because of the increasing rise of online shopping, decreasing customer spending and rising business rents and local taxes.

“I think the prospects for 2018 really are quite grim, we’re seeing an awful lot of retailers that are on the brink of going into administration following on from the likes of Maplin, Toys ‘R’ Us, Warren Evans, and others and we think that there’s going to be lot more casualties this year unfortunately,” said Patrick O’Brien from GlobalData Retail.