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E-commerce competition to cause further high street closures

22 March 2012 - 09:02 by Mike Price

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Two fifths of existing high street shops, or four out of every ten, could shut down within five years, according to a report published by Deloitte.

This is largely being put down to the popularity of shopping online, which is now the preferred retail platform amongst a growing number of UK consumers.

A 40 per cent reduction in the actual number of outlets that major retailers operate seems to be on the cards, with the firms that survive only doing so because they are able to diversify and utilise both online platforms and existing real world stores, in a more cohesive manner.

Deloitte spokesperson, Silvia Rindone, said that there was something of a problem in the UK's high street retail sector at the moment, driven not only by the rise of safe shopping online, but also by the expansion of retailers into an unsustainable number of stores across the country.

Some areas of the high street are likely to be hit harder than others. Fashion and clothing could be a significant victim, with 22 per cent of consumers purchasing their most recent product from this industry via the web, rather than from a bricks and mortar outlet.

In recent weeks, the well publicised faltering of the Game Group chain of videogame stores, which includes high street brands Game and Gamestation, has cast further doubt on the robustness of the market.

Some rumours suggest that half of all the Game Group's stores will be closed if it enters administration, which would fall in line with the predictions made by Deloitte.

Of course for the consumer, the choice between the high street and e-commerce will be obvious, because the lower prices and added convenience of online shopping can easily trump real world retail.