High street

Hundreds of shops have closed this year

Almost 650 stores have closed, or been threatened with closure, since January

Almost 650 shops and restaurants have closed or been threatened with closure this year, BBC analysis has shown.

What it means: Nearly half that number comes from the closure of Toys R Us and Maplin – the rest of Toys R Us stores are set to close today.

According to the BBC, cities are bearing the brunt of the closures (presumably because they had more shops in the first place) but towns are also being affected, a number of which already have a lot of empty stores.

Doncaster is one of 14 towns where four shops have been affected, the BBC said. Two Toys R Us outlets are closing down, while New Look and a Maplin shop are at risk. One in five shops in Doncaster is empty.

The main challenge for retail businesses is the rise of online shopping. The failure of Toys R Us to keep up with Amazon, say, or New Look to keep up with ASOS, has put pressure on their businesses. On top of that, retail stores are also complaining about rising staff costs – those pesky employees needing to get paid – and a tax hike on the value of their stores (business rates).

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