WHSMITH is to shut six shops after reporting a fall in its yearly earnings – the most recent retailer hit by the excessive avenue’s troubles.
The uncared for excessive avenue staple has not stated which shops will shut and what number of jobs may very well be affected.
WHSmith has 610 excessive avenue shops within the UK, that means that 0.9 per cent will shut.
The retailer stated the six shops closing had been “loss-making” due to “onerous” excessive avenue leases, and that they may shut when their leases expire.
It made the choice after reporting a fall in earnings for its excessive avenue shops from £62million to £60million within the yr to August.
The retailer stated it’s now specializing in its journey shops, that are its outlets positioned at airports, prepare stations, service stations, universities and workplaces.
Why is the excessive avenue struggling?
HERE we reveal why there may be extra strain than ever on excessive avenue outlets:
Current evaluation by the Labour celebration confirmed there are 100,000 fewer Brits working within the retail trade than there have been in 2015.
Final yr alone, the excessive avenue misplaced a complete of 1,800 outlets.
Firms blame the rise of Amazon and different on-line purchasing websites for driving footfall away from city centres.
Labour additionally factors to price-gouging by city centre automobile parking corporations, and to look into outlets being left empty by landlords.
In the meantime the Liberal Democrats wish to abolish enterprise charges and exchange them with a tax on the worth of land.
Influential Tories are calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to fast-track a three per cent tax on the likes of Amazon, eBay and Google to “degree the taking part in subject” with UK enterprise and assist the excessive avenue.
It opened 20 extra within the final yr, bringing the full to 581 shops.
It’s additionally about to unveil a brand new prolonged model of its present store at Heathrow Terminal four within the coming weeks.
It’s thought that the retailer needs to maneuver workers on the six closing shops to different WHSmith outlets to stop job losses.
A WH Smith spokesman stated: “Over the yr, WH Smith can be opening extra shops than we’re closing.
“Throughout the enterprise we can be creating jobs, using extra folks subsequent yr than this yr.”
The retailer has not stated which shops are closing because it has not but informed workers on the affected shops, it’s believed.
In addition to the six retailer closures, WHSmith stated it might finish a trial of smaller WHSmith Native shops, and shut CardMarket, a web-based buying and selling card gaming market.
Stephen Clarke, group chief govt of WHSmith stated in an announcement: “We had an excellent yr in excessive avenue regardless of the effectively documented challenges of the UK excessive avenue.”
He added: “Regardless of this good efficiency, we aren’t ignoring the broader challenges on the UK excessive avenue and, throughout the second half, we performed a enterprise assessment to make sure our excessive avenue enterprise is match for goal now and for the long run.”
George Charles, retail knowledgeable from money-saving web site VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, stated: “It’s extremely unhappy to listen to that such a pivotal a part of our excessive streets can also be failing.
“Everybody within the UK would have bought one thing in WHSmith’s sooner or later or one other, whether or not that was a ebook, stamps or some stationary, however as with most of the different struggling retailers, the price of these items is simply too excessive to compete with on-line retailers or different shops on the excessive streets.”
It hasn’t been the perfect yr for WHSmith as in July it was named the UK’s worst excessive avenue store, with clients complaining it’s costly, out-of-date with impolite workers.
It’s the most recent retailer to be affected by the struggles plaguing the excessive avenue, with French Connection asserting this week that it may very well be up on the market.
In the meantime Debenhams is making an attempt to beat the pressures on excessive avenue shops by opening a brand new flagship store containing a gin bar – after asserting plans to shut 10.