More than 3 in 5 people in the UK are worried the high street will disappear over the next ten years.
This is according to a report by KIS Finance which surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK.
It found that the increasing number of big-name store closures was the cause of the fears.
Food, beverage, value and fashion brands are predicted to be the biggest victims because of online competition which has been pushed by convenience.
Consumers said if high streets had free parking and easy accessibility, they would be more likely to shop in store.
Holly Andrews, managing director at KIS Finance commented: “With store closures flooding our newsfeeds recently, we were interested to find out what the future holds for the high street and how consumers’ shopping habits might affect retailers’ footfall. It is obvious from our research that people do still like going into store to shop, but it just isn’t as accessible as online shopping is.
“To save the high street many retailers need to ensure that they are thinking innovatively about how to draw customers in with clearer in-store stock checks, more staff and extended hours during busy periods. The reason why so many retailers are struggling with their stores is because consumer shopping habits are changing and the high street needs to change with it, creating a more community led atmosphere with more accessibility and variety for everyone.”
Northern cities and Scotland have been worst hit by store closures so far, but people are anticipating there will be many more to come.
James Child, retail analyst at EG and a partner in the work, said: “It is quite likely that there will be a continuation, if not an increase of the negative headlines in retail. The raft of CVA’s and administrations in the sector has culminated in an expected 1,600 store closures across the UK, with over 18 million square foot of prime retail real estate vacated.
“When we break down the events of 2018 there are some trends which appear to be continuing into 2019 – due to fragile trading conditions and economic uncertainty. There are certain sub-sectors that will face more pressure than others. The fallout from department stores will continue at pace, following the problems with House of Fraser last year, and now with the future of Debenhams at risk.”
He added: “Food and beverage, value and fashion brands will come under more strain as over stretched markets begin to weed out weaker offers as retail Darwinism bites.”
As part of its research, KIS mapped out which cities had been hit the hardest by the major store closures of the last year, including those announced already in 2019 such as M&S and Patisserie Valerie. This revealed northern cities such as Leeds and Glasgow had been hit far harder than their southern counterparts.