By Jonathan Davies

The number of shops on the UK High Street fell sharply in the first nine months of the year, according to the PwC and Local Data Company.

The study found that there were 964 net closures between January and September. It is more than double the number of closures seen in 2013, largely driven by the demise of the likes of Phones4U and lingerie retailer La Senza.

Clothing shops were the worst affected. In total, 365 clothing and shoe shops closed during the period.

But the study also found that coffee shops, banks, pound shops, charity shops, convenience stores and American restaurants opened the most outlets.

Mark Hudson, retail leader at PwC, said: "We're heading for a High Street based around immediate consumption of food, goods and services or distress or convenience purchases," he added.

"I'm not sure that's what customers really want - but consumer and business economics are pointing in that direction at the moment."

Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, said: "Significant changes are continuing to take place across Britain's town centres.

"Multiple retailers are continuing to close stores on High Streets in favour of retail parks and shopping centres.

"The bad news is that the significant decline in chain retailer numbers in town centres seen in 2012, which then slowed in 2013, has picked up again."

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