// The high street crisis is set to continue into 2020
// 8000 stores and 85,000 jobs have been lost this year
The pressure on high street retailers is expected to continue into 2020 as consumers shift towards online and business rates increase, experts have warned.
A total of 8000 stores and 85,000 jobs have been lost this year, with retail experts predicting this to continue at the same pace during the next 12 months.
Hedge funds have bet against a recovery, taking positions against the likes of Sainsbury’s, B&Q-owner Kingfisher and Marks & Spencer.
Such funds have bet £1.6 billion against retailers including B&Q owner Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer and grocer Morrisons.
The outlook comes after a year which has seen retailers such as Mothercare, Links of London and Bonmarche collapse into administration.
Meanwhile, data company Springboard found that footfall during the Boxing Day sales drop by 10.6 per cent thanks to rainy weather and early discounting.
Experts have said there will be no let up next year, even if consumer confidence recovers as a result of the Conservative Party winning a majority.
“We’ve already seen the worst ever net store closures for a year’s first half,” PwC leader of industry for consumer markets Lisa Hooker said.
“If a last-minute Christmas shopping rush fails to materialise, retailers should be prepared for a bumpy first quarter and more high street – and even online – casualties in the months ahead.”
The BRC said business rates and the government’s apprenticeship levy were fuelling closures and job losses.
Boris Johnson has also promised to launch a “fundamental review” of the business rates system in the spring.
BRC business and regulation director Tom Ironside said: “Government must address rising costs, particularly the sky-high business rates, or we are likely to see more job losses and store closures in the future.”