Britain’s retail chains closed an average of 14 shops every single day in 2011, latest research shows.
According to figures compiled on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers by the Local Data Company, retailers quit more shops than they opened for the first time.
Between 2000 and 2009, around 15,000 shops shut – but in just two years, 2010 and 2011, a further 10,000 closed their doors, the report reveals.
Tough economic times and the cut in household disposable income, together with the rise of internet sales, have hit electrical retailers and bookshops particularly hard.
Home furnishings and menswear chains, off licences, pubs and travel agents also depleted last year, the study shows.
Nottingham is estimated to have the highest rate of vacant shops in UK cities, with almost one in three units lying empty, followed by Stoke on Trent where a quarter of shops are said to be vacant.
Among smaller towns, Leigh Park and Margate have vacancy rates of more than 36 per cent, the report shows.
But charity shops, supermarkets, pound shops and credit unions continue to flourish, PwC said.
The report is published as official figures reveal that retail sales leapt unexpectedly in January, as consumers bought furniture and sports goods.
Retail sales rose 0.9 per cent from December to give a year on year rise of two per cent, the Office for National Statistics said today.