AROUND 61 shops shut down every working day across the UK this year, new research has found.

Some 16,073 shops pulled down their shutters for the final time over the year, an increase of 1490 from the previous year, according to the Centre for Retail Research’s end-of-year report.

Large retailers with 10 or more stores closed 5901 shops, a leap of 79% from the 3303 stores they closed in 2018.

Meanwhile, independent retailers fared slightly better, closing 10,172 stores – a decrease of nearly 10% compared with the 11,280 shops they closed in 2018.

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Professor Joshua Bamfield, director at the Centre for Retail Research, said he anticipates another tough year ahead for high streets, forecasting that shop closures will rise by about 9% to 17,565 during 2020.

He said: “The commercial pressures of higher labour costs, business rates and relatively weak demand will continue to undercut profits and force the weakest companies to close stores or enter administration.

“The high street and suburbs will continue to decline.”

A number of major chains went into administration this year, resulting in thousands of jobs being lost on high streets across the UK.

Camera firm Jessops is one of the latest companies to fall victim. Earlier this month it called in administrators to its property arm, putting 500 jobs at risk.

Other major names to go into administration included Mothercare, Bonmarche, Watt Brothers, Jack Wills, Clintons and Debenhams.

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Professor Bamfield added: “In 2020 further announcements from companies that have already gone through CVAs or administration may well result in cutbacks on their existing operations.”

The UK Government will extend retail discounts on business rates to 50% next year in England to try to stem closures, and plans to launch a review of the tax.

Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at the real estate adviser Altus Group, said: “Whilst just 10% of retail properties in England are over £51,000 in rateable value, and precluded from the discount, they still pick up 69% of the business rates burden for the entire retail sector.”