More high street shops closed during 2011 than opened, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Local Data Company (LDC).
This is the first time since 2009 that the high street has seen more closures than openings and emphasises the difficulties faced by the UK retailing sector.
Over the whole year 5,268 shops were closed while the number of openings only reached 5,094.
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The research, however, comes while the latest UK retail sales which, including fuel sales, showed a 0.9% rise between December and the end of January. Excluding fuel sales the figure was up 1.2% against expectations of a 0.3% decline.
The figures compiled by the Local Data Company show the most closures amongst bookshops, electrical and home furnishing stores.
Convenience stores, supermarkets and charity shops showed net openings over 2011.
"The rise in convenience stores is due to them being a growth platform for supermarkets needing to meet consumer demand for local shopping" said Mike Jervis, PwC insolvency partner and retail specialist.
"Electricals and bookshops have suffered as these products are now increasingly bought online but retailers in these sectors are typically carrying unnecessarily large property portfolios."
The decline of the high street at the expense of out-of-town sites has been a long term trend in UK retailing. Currently town centre shopping only accounts for 42.5% of total spend, compared to 49.4% in 2000.
Current vacancies in high street retail property are at 48,000, or 14.3% of available shops, says Matthew Hopkinson, the director of the Local Data Company.
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