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The UK has hit a new record number of closed down shops on UK high streets during the first half of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Local Data Company, 11,120 chain store outlets had shut down between January and June. Although 5,000 shops were able to open during the same period, it resulted a net decline of 6,001 stores. The final total could be higher in the coming months.

The pandemic has increased online shopping causing shops to close. The data includes mostly shops and hospitality chains, but independent businesses remain unaffected. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, high streets in the UK were already experiencing closure. In 2019, an average of 16 shops per day were shut down. Research shows that York is now the worst affected area with a loss of 55 outlets.

Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company, said: “For local authorities, it’s now critical how they respond to this significant and growing decline in store occupants.”

Retailers are continuing to restructure their businesses and trying to save thousands of jobs. The government is also tackling the situation by implementing a rates holiday that allows retail and hospitality firms to not pay tax until April 2021.

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

News credit: BBC

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