January 7, 2009

British retailers face dismal prospects

Retail closings in Britain could hit a record in 2009 as the credit crisis continues to crimp consumer spending, a research group said Wednesday.

The research group, Experian, said empty stores in the country could rise to 90,000 by the end of January and to 135,000 by the end of the year, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The numbers are the equivalent of 15 percent of all stores in Britain, the report said.

Experian's director of retail research Jonathan de Mello said the unprecedented level of retail vacancy will be disproportionately spread across Britain.

The closing of multiples like Woolworths, which had 800 stores, will depress shopping in some towns, which would lead to a domino effect -- or a knock on effect with other retailers, he said.

The Center of Economics and Business Research said at least 100,000 retail jobs would be lost with the store closings.