One in eight shops close across the UK
Grim news. It has been estimated that 117,000 shops in town centres are now boarded-up or empty, according to a report. It's clear that the public still isn't ready to start throwing their cash around like it was the '90s all over again.
Unsurprisingly, it's the North and the Midlands which have been hit hardest. Apparently, the highest number of empty shops is in Blackpool, at 29%. With the increase in VAT in January, things are looking like they'll remain pretty rough.
The Local Data Company report called A Gathering Storm? says that town centres that rely on public sector funding the most are likely to be the worst hit in the coming months.
The report warns: "Combined with the increases in VAT in January, this will likely be a double blow for the big retail centres, in the North and the Midlands particularly."
Some of the big boys are suffering too, with Argos reporting that sales have continued to fall. The company are expecting profits to be down by 20-25%, report the BBC.
Tough times are ahead and, if things don't sort themselves out soon, we'll be living in an image of The Specials' 'Ghost Town' and buying all of our goods online.