20% of UK stores predicted to close in next five years, thanks to the web

Internet shopping has become something that many of us take for granted in recent years. Let’s face it, it’s hard to argue against the convenience of being able to research a product online, then buy it and have it delivered to your door. While the range of products that can be purchased easily online has been a big factor in the explosive growth in online shopping, price is often an even greater advantage, particularly in these straitened times.

But the soaring popularity of online shops appears to be the vanguard of doom for brick-and-mortar stores, which simply can’t compete with the low overheads and operating costs of leaner web-based retailers, and the economies of scale enjoyed by massive online stores such as Amazon. It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that the United Kingdom’s Centre for Retail Research (CRR) predicts that 20% of the nation’s physical stores will close over the next five years.

As BBC News reports, the CRR paints a rather depressing picture of what’s to come: as many as 62,000 shops are expected to shut by 2018, with up to 316,000 jobs lost in the process. It predicts that pharmacies and health and beauty stores will be the first to close in significant numbers, with those retailers offering music, books, cards and gifts next to go.

Within five years, the proportion of shopping carried out via the web is expected to double in the UK to 22%, with demand for shopping in physical stores falling to the point that many shops simply won’t be able to afford to stay in business any longer. 

Source: BBC News

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