Soaring closures raise fears of ghost town shopping centres across UK

A sharp rise in the number of stores being shut by distressed retail groups is fuelling fears that chunks of Britain’s high streets and shopping centres will be left as ghost towns by the deepening recession, which was officially confirmed yesterday.

Concern mounted that a rising tide of premises being closed will bring desolation to large tracts of shopping centres after new figures underlined the extent of the trend.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting group, said that Britain was at risk of developing a phenomenon of “grey malls”, mirroring the retail wastelands of closed premises springing up across the United States.

“In recent years we’ve had coffee shops, mobile phone shops and charity shops filling the voids. Apart from pound shops, what’s the next thing that’s going to fill them?” Barry Gilbertson, a corporate restructuring expert at the accounting group, asked.

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