650 stores have closed so far this year

retail insolvencies

Shop vacancy rates are set to soar as well known retailers battle to remain open on the high street, with 650 stores shut or at risk of closure since the start of 2018.

New analysis from BBC 5 live’s Wake Up to Money has found Maplin and Toys R Us account for half of the total after both retailers fell into administration on February 28.

The remaining Toys R Us stores will close on Tuesday, while Maplin’s administrators are keeping its 217 shops open but “under review” while a buyer is sought.

The figure is only set to rise on the back of this morning’s news that East would cease trading from May 4.

Cities bore the brunt of the retail insolvencies, but town centres across the UK will also be affected by the vacancies.

The news comes as a number of troubled retailers look to streamline their property portfolio in order to ease pressure on bricks and mortar.

Marks & Spencer is currently undergoing a store closure plan to close six properties by the end of April, with seven more planned by the end of 2018.

Carpetright and New Look are also likely to close around 50-100 stores each.

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