The total number of retail chain stores in the UK has continued to grow over the last three years despite the impact of online shopping.

According to the latest research from global property advisor CBRE chain retailers account for the bulk of all shop expansion in the UK and over 90% of total retail sales.

The number of stores rose from 95,723 in 2009 to 101,363 in 2011.

CBRE examined branch expansion trends over the 1998-2011 period to determine the impact of internet growth.

It found that, while the total number of shops occupied by chain service operators – banks, building societies, travel agents and postal services – has fallen by more than 20,000 units since 1998, the total number of retail stores grew by over 30,000 over the same period.

CBRE said there is “little sign” that overall retail spend will increase as a result of online shopping.

CBRE head of retail research Mark Teale said: “The internet is widely portrayed as a store-destroying whirlwind leaving a trail of empty shops in its wake; however, chain expansion activity figures paint a very different picture. The internet is certainly impacting shop markets, but not in the way commonly perceived - it is not that shops are not closing in many High Streets, but that chain retail openings overall are still outpacing closures.”

He added: “The number of shops occupied by chain service operators however continues to fall as consumers choose the convenience of banking and buying insurance, train tickets, holidays etc online. The loss of chain shop service operators is one of the reasons underlying the increasingly pockmarked state of many smaller High Streets.”