A new research published on Tuesday in Britain finds that more shops will close down in the coming five years while online sales are to expand quickly under the combined pressures of high costs and consumer reluctance to spend.
The share of online retail sales will rise from 12.7 percent in 2012 to 21.5 percent by 2018 or the end of the decade, the highest online retail share in the world, according to the Nottingham-based Center for Retail Research,
Squeezed by online sales, total store numbers would fall by 22 percent from 281,930 today to 220,000 in 2018, leading to job losses of around 316,000.
The report said retailers with a strong web presence would need just 70 high street stores to create a national presence compared to 250 in the mid 2000s.
"Retailing and retailers will either make clear strategic decisions that permit online retail to coexist with other retail channels in a multichannel world allowing bricks and mortar retailers to transform themselves, or, by avoiding making these decisions, multiple retailers will disappear or be so mortally wounded that a large minority of business categories become dominated purely online retailers," the report said.
"Customers now shop in multiple ways, checking a store's website, visiting one or more stores, looking at product reviews, viewing the prices of competitors on a smartphone whilst standing outside a store, and choosing finally whether to buy the goods in-store or online and collect it in-store or have it delivered to a nominated address," it added.
The report predicted a further 164 major or medium-sized companies would go into administration by 2018, involving the loss of 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees.
However, many of these companies will survive but at the cost of closing more than half their stores.