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British retail ranks shrinking

Britain’s high street store population is shrinking fast.

According to research from PwC and the Local Data Company, nearly three times as many shops disappeared from Britain’s high streets in 2014 compared with the year before.

Literally hundreds of shops were left empty after the collapse of leading retail chains La Senza (lingerie), Phones4U and pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond.

According to the research, 5839 outlets closed last year, and 4852 new stores opened in 2014 – for a net loss of 987. That’s the equivalent of 16 shops closing every day.

“Regulation has blindsided the money shops, the advance of technology has hammered some phone operators and the internet continues to dent the clothing sector,” Mike Jervis, insolvency partner at PwC said. “Despite the benign economy, the net loss of shops has accelerated.”

Of the 400 mobile phone shops which closed last year, about 362 were from the Phones4U collapse, the stores closed by administrators.

The number of video library closures doubled, but tobacconists ranks grew thanks to the growth of the e-cigarette market.

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