High street ‘to shed another 175,000 jobs in 2019’

Another 175,000 jobs are set to be lost from the high street this year, while the value of retail property will tumble amid challenges facing the sector, new research shows.

Over 23,000 shops are expected to close in 2019, according to research by real estate adviser Altus Group.

The numbers mark a significant increase on 2018, when a series of company failures and store closure programmes claimed nearly 20,000 stores and 150,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, the woes of the industry are set to hit the value of retail property, which is expected to decline by 15.9% as shoppers are tempted away from the high street by online alternatives.

Altus Group’s annual Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Innovation Report found that 62% of major UK property owners and investors say Amazon and other online players have disrupted the retail property market.

A further 78% said the trend towards “experiential” retailing is now impacting their investment decisions, as customers seek out experience-led shopping.

Altus Group managing director Guillaume Fiastre said retail property value had dropped significantly due to headwinds facing the sector, but that “survivors” would emerge from the current transformation.

“Retail of the future will use bricks-and-mortar spaces in a very different way mixed in with leisure and lifestyle residential spaces, for example.

“The most successful retailers – the survivors – are learning to draw in their customers with the promise of a personalised experience. Technology makes that all possible, but it still needs a strong human element.”

Last year saw major retailers including Maplin, Toys R Us and House of Fraser go into administration. Many other shopping chains slashed their store estates in response to reduced footfall on the high street.

Retailers planning to close stores this year include Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser.