Value of retail property will slump as shift to online giants continues, says report

A further 175,000 jobs will be shed from struggling UK high streets this year and the value of retail property will slump as the boom in online shopping and rise of giants such as Amazon continue to take their toll, research warns.

More than 23,000 shops are forecast to close in 2019, according to the findings published on Monday in an annual report from the real estate adviser Altus Group.

The figures suggest this year will be even worse than 2018, when a series of high-profile company failures and store-closure programmes claimed nearly 20,000 stores and 150,000 jobs. They include both multiples or chains as well as independent stores and – in the hospitality sector – restaurants and casual dining outlets.

The seismic shift in shopping habits in the UK prompts the authors to predict that the overall value of retail property will tumble by 15.9% this year as shoppers are lured away from the high street by online alternatives.

Many high streets are struggling with fewer customers and the shift to online shopping. The most recent official figures available showed the number of shops, pubs and restaurants lying empty soared in the first six months of 2018.

Last year was a difficult year for the retail sector, with a long list of high street failures, including House of Fraser, Evans Cycles, Maplin and Poundworld, while other chains including Mothercare and Carpetright, together closed hundreds of underperforming stores. Retailers planning to close stores this year include Marks & Spencer and Debenhams.

Altus Group’s annual commercial real estate (CRE) innovation report found that 62% of major UK property owners and investors claim that Amazon and other online players have disrupted the retail property market.

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