Britain’s High Street has lost 83% of its department stores since BHS collapsed in 2016.
Only 79 of the main stores remain open compared to 467 five years ago, according to new data.
Commercial real estate information firm CoStar Group has found that more than two-thirds of the buildings are unoccupied, 237 of which have yet to be taken over by a new company.
The company has followed the country’s leading brands – including BHS and Debenhams – since 2016.
The study, conducted in July, found that since then the number of stores they occupy on Main Street has increased from 467 to 79.
That means 388 have closed, 237 of which left empty and 52 with plans to turn it into another business.
Britain’s High Street has lost 83% of department stores since BHS collapsed in 2016 (file photo)
CoStar has tracked the country’s leading brands – including BHS and Debenhams (file photo) – since 2016
The company’s chief analyst, Mark Stansfield, told the BBC: “The data undoubtedly points to the acceleration of change in the retail sector in recent years, as the pandemic has only exacerbated. “
He continued, “We are seeing more and more forward-thinking property owners getting ahead of the problem and reshaping the key assets of our downtown areas to provide a focal point for regeneration.
“I think we’ll see a lot more plans emerge in the coming months. With these store closings come new opportunities. ‘
The CoStar Group said BHS was a prime example of the problems faced by businesses on Main Street.
The clothing chain collapsed five years ago but since then a quarter of its old stores have remained empty.
The CoStar group said BHS was a prime example of the problems faced by businesses on Main Street (file photo)
Part of his store in Edinburgh has been transformed from an asbestos infested site into a Premier Inn.
At the top of the six floors, the offices are being finalized and the basement should be transformed into a bowling alley.
The Scottish capital is among those hard hit by the disappearance of shops on the main street.
It has seen four of its main department stores disappear in recent years, but there are plans to replace some of them.
The former House of Fraser on Princes Street is being transformed into the Johnnie Walker Whiskey Experience.
Unlike Edinburgh, smaller areas north of the border are struggling to replace Main Street shops.
BHS collapsed five years ago, but since then a quarter of its old stores remain empty (file photo)
The Scottish border town of Dumfries still has the old Debenhams store empty despite being its largest retail unit.
Locals are trying to buy it and turn it into a movie theater or food court, but struggle to raise funds.
Debenhams, which collapsed in May, is one of the worst cases of street stores that have remained empty in recent years.
According to data from the CoStar Group, 149 of its addresses remain vacant.
Researchers reviewed planning requests and spoke to realtors and landlords for the report.
In a ray of hope for Main Street, they found out that Next had taken over some Debenhams stores for their new beauty concept.