Some one in seven shops is now empty on UK high streets and shopping centers, according to British Retail Consortium figures. This is an extremely difficult picture, which has worsened as a result of the pandemic.

Despite this, high street retailers have been struggling for some years, and fashion stores are among the worst affected. There has been a clear move to online shopping, but also, working from home, and the lack of going out because of lockdowns, meant less interest in buying clothes.

Here at Company Debt, we have significant experience in both closing and restructuring retail businesses. Get in touch for a free, no-obligation discussion about your situation with one of our licensed insolvency practitioners.

Retail Pressure Points

Customers turn away from the high street
Shopping malls blighted by empty units
Online continues to expand
Insolvency Retail

What are the Reasons for Retail Insolvency?

Shopping malls – where fashion tends to dominate – are now likely to be searching for tenants for around a fifth of their units. Online retail continues to expand whereas in contrast, many town centres fail to appeal. Despite realisation that there need to be decisive action, too often shoppers are turned off visiting because of costly parking and perhaps a preference for out of town shopping that tends to offer easier access. That said, there is a slightly encouraging sign that New Look, which underwent a Company Voluntary Arrangement and switched to turnover rents, has turned in a profit.

However, longer term, there is increasing talk of alternative uses for high streets, such as in Stockton-on-Tees where the are plans to change a shopping centre into a giant park.

But, the woes of the high street do not reflect the UK’s entire retail sector. Food performed strongly during the pandemic, with supermarkets reporting soaring sales – Ocado has seen a 20% jump, for example.

But, the liquidations are set to continue and there have been a host of high profile failures, including Debenhams, Arcadia Group and Victoria’s Secret UK. There will undoubtedly be many more retail insolvencies – and recent figures show these have hit a five year high. PwC data showed more than 17,500 chain stores and other shops closed – an average rate of 48 closures a day in 2020. These include shops which may have signs saying they will be reopening, but given the state of high street retailing, it looks very much as if many of these temporary closures will become permanent.

Help for your insolvent retail business

If your retail outlet is experiencing difficulties, you should not delay seeking advice. Business owners need to address problems and if they put this off, then their options become more limited.

Company Debt  provides expert support and advice on the next steps for an insolvent business, whether rescue, recovery or liquidation.

Insolvency Retail

Knowledge – Insight – Solutions

We are fully licensed and accredited insolvency practitioners based in north London, and with decades of combined partner experience in helping directors find positive solutions to business challenges.

Our goal is first to understand your situation as fully as we can, and then to explain the range of options available to you.

We focus on practical advice, without jargon. We practice total transparency around costs and fee structures. Our wish is to support you as fully as possible so that you can emerge from this situation in the best possible situation.

As a first step, simply book in a call with one of our team to learn more about our approach, and to take advantage of a fee consultation that carries no obligation.

Book My Consultation

If you need an experienced insolvency practitioner or business rescue specialist, seek advice now.

  • Your free consultation will be led by one of our experienced London insolvency practitioners
  • You can speak via phone, online meeting or in person so that we can listen carefully to the facts about your situation
  • The team will provide a preliminary view of the likely best outcome, proposed strategy, and the likely cost
  • We specialise in helping limited company directors needing immediate professional debt advice


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.