We may be seeing something of a mini store opening boom at the moment, but huge numbers of stores belonging to failed businesses remain empty and that can be seen clearly from the large number of vacant Arcadia sites.
UK department stores have become an endangered species. The country has lost 83% of its main department stores since the collapse of the BHS chain in 2016, reflecting how hard the high street has been hit.
Gap is going online-only in the UK and Republic of Ireland with news on Wednesday that it’s closing all 81 of its stores in the British Isles, rather than just the 19 that had already been announced for closure in July.
What had once seemed unthinkable is now not only happening but accelerating as failed UK retailers' giant spaces are transformed for new uses. And a spate of news on Monday showed the extent of the issue.
A major signal of what’s likely to happen more widely in UK retail in the next few years came on Wednesday as property giant Hammerson announced a major build-to-rent scheme for Leicester following the Debenhams exit.
Giant fashion group Arcadia is believed to be on the verge of the worst UK corporate collapse of the Covid crisis, with the firm expected to go into administration as early as Monday. This would put 13,000 jobs at risk.