Just 79 department stores remain open compared to 467 five years ago, data compiled in July from commercial property information firm CoStar Group shows.

What’s more, two-thirds of those shuttered buildings remain unoccupied. Some 237 have still to be taken over by a new business while just 52 have plans to transfer to another business or use.

The grim figures only highlight the rapid extent of physical retail’s decline, with online retail having driven the high street decline that was added to by the Covid pandemic.

CoStar head of analytics Mark Stansfield told the BBC: “The data undoubtedly highlights the acceleration of change in the retail sector in recent years, which the pandemic has only exacerbated.

CoStar Group said BHS was a prime example of the problems for firms on the high street. The budget clothing and homewares chain collapsed five years ago but since then a quarter of its former stores remain empty.

Debenhams, a more recent causality, still has 149 former stores vacant, data from CoStar shows. Via FashionNetwork