Deathwatch: 35,000 UK shops to close this year?

As many as 35,000 UK shops could close this year as the recession bites hard into the British economy. That’s a prediction included in a report by Experian and featured on The Money Programme tonight on BBC2, presented by retail ghoul Mary Portas (right).

Stats assembled by the British Retail Consortium suggest that sales fell 0.6 per cent in May, following brisk figures for March and April. Additionally, Job Centre statistics reveal that 165,000 shop workers claimed benefits last month – 49 per cent up on the year before.

With predictions that unemployment might reach three million before long, the shops could be hit harder still as money dries up and people resort to buying only necessities. Gateshead, Tyne And Wear has been named as the country’s biggest retail ghost town, with 60% of shop units standing empty.

What does the retail landscape look like where you live? Are you finding that local shops for local people are closing down and driving you more and more into the welcoming clutches of your nearest supermarket. Would you like to openly mourn a favourite retail establishment that has recently gone spectacularly tits up? Tell us now, because we might never meet again.


  • Tom P.
    "Gateshead, Tyne And Wear has been named as the country’s biggest retail ghost town" That's because of Team Valley Retail Park and the mighty MetroCentre around the corner, and Newcastle nearby with Eldon Square.
  • > H.
    God, I hate that Mary Portas, and she looks just like that dummy! (Apologies to the dummy, the plastic one)
  • Shearer l.
    "Gateshead, Tyne And Wear has been named as the country’s biggest retail ghost town" probably because it's in the process of being knocked down. Doh!! Typical of the BBC this, doom and gloom when the country needs optimism.
  • Mike
    What I would like to know is what 35,000 shops closing could mean. How many close in a good year? Everywhere you go shops close and new ones open, does this count in these figures? I only query this because I was in the Pub game for over a decade and they used to come out with these sort of figures all the time, but when you think about it, as a statement it means nothing. Compare it to 2007, how many closed then and how many reopened as something else. Where I live 2 shops , 1 really tiny and the other one out of the way have moved into the highstreet and reopened (better position and size), I bet these are counted as closures.
  • Louise S.
    Councils started it by peanalising people with cars, making them park a mile away charging high parking, then traffic wardens there to catch everyone out. Together with pushy retailers taking the mick out of us. Reaction, we dont bother anymore we sit at home and order from the net, cheaper and you dont have to strain yourself.
  • goon
    yeah lets all pay the bills and survive on optimism and confidenece. those two awesome tangeble assets. i hate it how people think the economy runs on 'confidence'. what a bag of dogshit. it runs on making things and selling things. services included (but not much)
  • goon
    Louise Skelton i agree with you completly. i now refuse to go into town due to council nazis. although the last time i did the traffic warden (woman) did let me off, after all i had been parked 2 minutes to long. i offered to birch myself but luckily she said no.
  • holocaust g.
    Think positive! If you can't afford food you loose weight. If you can't afford heating oil - think you aren't contributing to global warming. If you can't afford anything - be happy about those who still can.
  • Bogwart
    Help your country! Volunteer for the Soylent Green solution!
  • Renie W.
    I live near Whitley Bay amd the town centre is pretty sad. Mostly charity shops or empty shops, or cheap we sell everything shops. Its so depressing this town used to have loads of usefull shops,
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