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Crisis looming for bricks-and-mortar retail, says report

More than one in five UK retail stores will close in the next five years, with some 316,000 jobs being lost, according to a recent study.

The report from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) forecast that almost 62,000 shops would close by 2018, a reduction of 22 per cent from 281,930 to 220,000. High streets are likely to be the worst hit, although out-of-town malls, retail parks and large supermarket chains will not be immune, it said.

The crisis was partly put down to high operating costs, which have risen by 20 per cent since 2006. But the CRR said the bigger threat to bricks-and-mortar stores was the rise of online retail. Online retail accounted for a 12.7 per cent share of sales last year, the highest share in the world. It's expected to rise to 21.5% by 2018.

The report urged retailers to make radical transformations in the way they operate, with 'strategic responses' to changes in consumer behaviour, and better integration of physical stores, online sites and social media channels.

It's expected that organisations faced with these challenges may well have to reduce employee numbers during their restructure. Acas offers a range of services to help businesses through difficult times, and runs practical training courses on Managing change and Redundancy to help all sides find the best route through challenging circumstances.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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