By Daniel Hunter

New research has revealed a worrying future for the British high street, with 20% of current shops expected to close within the next five years.

The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) is warning that the rise of internet shopping could spell the end for the high street.

The organisation, which conducts research into retail, technology and crime, says this would equate to 62,000 shops closing down. The CRR believes large areas of the UK's high streets would become housing.

It also says as many as 316,000 workers would lose their jobs. The CRR says online shopping will continue to expand and the proportion of shopping done via the internet will double to 22%.

The report, which was produced by Prof Joshua Bamfield, said the first shops to go would be pharmacies and health and beauty stores.

Retail Futures 2018 forecasts that by 2018:

- Total store numbers will fall by 22%, from 281,930 today to 220,000 in 2018.
- Job losses could be around 316,000 compared to today.
- The share of online retail sales will rise from 12.7% (2012) to 21.5% by 2018 or the end of the decade.
- There will be a further 164 major or medium-sized companies going into administration, involving the loss of 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees. Many of these companies will survive but at the cost of closing more than half their stores.
- In spite of the Portas Pilots, the High Street will continue to suffer: around 41% of town centres will lose 27,638 stores in the next five years.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness