By Jonathan Davies

The number of High Street stores closing increase sharply in 2014, with 'many more' shops closing than opening, according to research.

The Local Data Company, which analyses the UK's top 500 town and city centres, said a net total of 987 High Street stores closed in 2014, three times the number in 2013.

In total, 5,839 outlets closed last year, equivalent to 16 a day.

The research found that clothing and shoe shops were the worst affected, whilst coffee shops, charity shops and tabacconists were the most likely to open.

Mobile phone stores were the worst affected with 419 store closures, driven by the demise of Phones4U.

Mark Hudson, retail leader at PwC which commissioned the research, said the rate of closures was similar to 2013, but 2014 saw far fewer openings.

"Customers are embracing new mobile technologies, traditional retail channels to market are being wiped out and new channels are being created, often in the online rather than the 'real' world," he added.

Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, said: "The area to watch in 2015 is the battle of the convenience and food store sector as supermarkets, the discounters and pound shops fight it out."