Four out of 10 shops will have to shut in the next five years as consumers turn their backs on traditional stores in favour of online shopping, according to a report which casts more doubt on the future of the beleaguered British high street.
With retail experts increasingly painting a picture of a future high street lined with coffee shops and internet kiosks, a report from Deloitte highlights how the boundaries between physical and virtual space are becoming blurred with thousands of shops likely to face closure in coming years.
To remain competitive, retailers may have to reduce their property portfolios by 30–40% in the next five years and adapt what remains to meet the changing demands of consumers, Deloitte said. The growing trend in the US for large warehouse-style retail outlets to have free in-store Wi-Fi to help customers shop online is expected to spread around the world. Tesco has already announced plans for such facilities in its UK stores.