Which shops struggled in 2019 as retail records worse year since 1995

High Street

As the British Retail Consortium (BRC) marked their first annual sales decline since 1995 we highlight a number of High Street retailers that either went into administration or announced job losses in 2019.

In November, Mothercare announced its 79 UK stores were “not capable” of achieving a sufficient level of profitability and that it planned to call in administrators. Mama’s and Papa’s also called in administrators.

Bonmarché, the womenswear retailer, fell into administration in October, and was set to be rescued by rival Peacocks.

Luxury jewellery retailer Links of London went into administration in October, putting 350 jobs at risk.

In September, 116 Albemarle & Bond pawn shops shut abruptly.

The Restaurant Group in March identified 76 Frankie & Benny’s restaurants in what it now considers to be unfavourable locations and in September highlighted 42 more sites, which are mainly Chiquitos.

In August, fashion firm Boohoo bought the online business of UK brands Karen Millen and Coast for £18.2m. The firms’ 32 UK High Street stores and 177 concessions, employing 1,100 people, then appeared set to close.

Also in August, Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley won the race to buy Jack Wills, while Tesco said it would cut 4,500 jobs across 153 Metro stores.

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire was saved by a rescue deal in June that involved the closure of 48 stores and the loss of a thousand jobs.

In May, the collapse of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain cost 1,000 jobs.

In April, Debenhams named 22 of the 50 stores it planned to close as part of a plan by new owners to revive the department store chain.

In February, HMV revealed the list of stores set to close after it was bought out of administration by Canadian firm Sunrise Records. However, that same month Patisserie Valerie was bought out of administration in February, saving 2,000 jobs.

Why are shops struggling?

Costs are rising, with business rates, rents and wages taking a bigger chunk of retailers’ expenditure. And with footfall in decline, many shops are simply too big and frequently in the wrong locations.

Also, High Street retailers are under pressure from changing shopping habits, with customers spending one in every £5 online. This move online underlines that the BRC survey does not cover the whole retail market. It doesn’t, for instance, include Amazon and some of the other fastest growing retailers that are outperforming the market.