Neath MP Peter Hain has voiced his concern over a report released by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) that claims that up to a third of shops in Wales could close by 2018.
According to the report, if current trends continue 29% of Wales’ high street stores face closure with the number of UK retail stores dropping from 281,930 to 220,000 at the risk of approximately 316,000 jobs nationwide.
The rise of online shopping and the continuing economic slump are both factors contributing to what the CRR has described as a ‘growing retail crisis.’
Mr. Hain says, ‘Neath is a bustling market town but you only have to walk along its High Street to see that its businesses are struggling. We have lost a number of shops within the last three years, including Woolworths, Pearsons and Dorothy Perkins, culminating in a lack of choice for consumers that results in them staying at home and shopping online.’
Mr. Hain continues, ‘More should be done to promote our local businesses. Events such as the Neath Food and Drink Festival, which is being held on the 4th and 5th of October this year, really showcase the talent of Neath’s entrepreneurs but that momentum needs to be maintained all year around to give local businesses a real chance of success.’