Debenhams, Cath Kidston, Poundworld closure: High street ‘worst for years’ as stores close

Debenhams to close six branches across UK

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Non-essential retailers could be set to open in the UK in the next few weeks. However, Channel 4’s Dispatches has revealed last year was the worst for high street with Debenhams, Cath Kidston and Poundworld closing. What will the future of retail be like?

Non-essential retailers have been closed for large parts of the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

This has caused Britons to turn online to buy non-essential items such as clothing and home furnishings.

In England, many retailers will be able to open again in a matter of weeks, on April 12.

However, the results of the pandemic could mean many stores will not be able to open.

In the last couple of years, high street staples such as Debenhams, Cath Kitson and Poundworld have permanently shut their shop doors.

Once having around 130 stores, Debenhams announced last year branches would not reopen and all shop floor staff are “set to lose their jobs”, the programme stated.

“Debenhams, of course, isn’t the only retailer to have collapsed in recent years,” presenter Antony Barnett explained.

“From Maplin to Toys”R”Us and Poundworld, dozens of well known retailers have disappeared from our high streets.

“Last year, almost 180,000 retailer workers lost their jobs.”

With job losses and store closures, the show revealed 2020 had been the worst year for the high street in 25 years.

This was in part due to the rise of online shopping and the various lockdown restrictions.

The presenter continued: “2020 was the worst year on record for the high street.

“Successive lockdowns and online shopping hammered sales and more than 17,000 chain stores closed for good.”

So, what does this mean for the high street?

In England, non-essential retailers will be able to open again on April 12.

Branches could open from April 26 in Scotland and stores in Wales opened their doors today.

However, all retailers could face huge challenges in the coming months, Antony continued.

He said: “Last year was the worst for the UK highstreet for a quarter of a century.

“British retail is in a fight for it’s future, the way we shop as changed forever.”

When stores do open up again, it is likely customers will have to follow various shopping rules due to the pandemic.

Face coverings, social distancing and hygiene measures are sure to be in place in stores to help keep Britons safe.

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