An unprecedented number of shops were forced to close during the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown.
A total of 11,000 chain operator outlets shut their doors to the public between January and August this year, according to Local Data Company and Accountancy firm PwC.
About 5,000 shops stayed open leaving a net decline of 6,001 stores – almost double the drop in the same period last year.
But PwC’s consumer markets leader, Lisa Hooker, said the lockdown merely accelerated an already existing trend of people moving to online shopping.
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Ms Hooker said: ‘We know that the pandemic will continue to impact the way we work, rest and play; however, in terms of how we shop, this isn’t new.
‘What we have seen is an acceleration of existing changes in shopping behaviours alongside forced experimentation from Covid-19 restrictions.
‘We all knew that consumers were shifting to shopping …