Fashion, household and non-food retailers have lost £ 9 billion in sales so far this year, according to a new report.
And the loss of sales could mean that every tenth store is never used to sell goods again.
The Center for Retail Research also found that nearly 14,000 stores closed for good this year – an increase of nearly 40% over the same period last year – and predicts that up to one in ten stores may never sell again.
The results come from a survey of 400 property managers that found that more than a third are already changing the use of their retail stores, and another 57% are considering changes.
Real estate specialist Altus Group’s Global Property Development Trends Report also found that at least £ 155 million has been earmarked for property repurposing.
Retailers had already agreed that Main Street had too many stores before the lockdown, with the shift to online continuing to be strong.
Those with strong online stores and businesses have managed to maintain sales, although those without have suffered.
One of the most noticeable moments that showed the shift was the announcement by John Lewis that some of his department stores would be closing for the first time.
According to the Altus Group, the retail space in England and Wales, both occupied and vacant and for rent, is currently 125,171,104 square meters.
The Center for Retail Research says that while some of the lost retail sales were recovered during the lock-up period, 13,867 stores last shutters this year – up 24.8% from the same period last year – in non-food – Retailers lost over £ 9m in sales.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director at the Center for Retail Research, says the longer it takes to teach from home, the bleak the prospects.
He said: “There is no alternative to re-use … up to 10% of the retail space has to be re-used in the short to medium term, but could ultimately be much higher in large cities.”
The business tariffs, which cover all commercial properties, did not have to be paid by retailers, pubs, bars and leisure services this year.
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement last week to expand aid to ailing businesses did not include an update to the business rate break.
Instead, he chose to encourage companies to focus only on “viable” jobs and a new system for replenishing workers who are unable to do their jobs due to the new lockdown restrictions.
In retail alone, at least 125,000 jobs are likely to have been lost this year.
“The longstanding pressures that property owners and developers face from falling retail rents and failures have been compounded by the pandemic and its evolving impact,” said Scott Morey, executive director, Altus Group.
“However, the real estate industry recognizes opportunities and will seek to reuse assets during this period of uncertainty and well into the recovery period,” he added.