by – Emma Simpson
The figure highlights the extent of the upheaval in the High Street as the Covid pandemic sped up changes in shopping habits.
The data, compiled by commercial property information firm CoStar Group, also reveals that more than two-thirds of these shops remain unoccupied.
Some 237 big stores have yet to be taken over by a new business.
“The data undoubtedly highlights the acceleration of change in the retail sector in recent years, which the pandemic has only exacerbated,” said CoStar Group’s head of analytics, Mark Stansfield.
CoStar tracked the UK’s largest chains, from BHS and Beales to Debenhams and House of Fraser, from 2016 to the present day.
Five years ago, they had 467 stores between them. Now, however, only 79 are left.
CoStar Group also examined what had happened to the 388 that had closed.
Although 237 are currently sitting empty, 52 already have either firm plans in place or early planning approval for a change of use or repurposing. The research was done in July.
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