Over 8,700 chain stores have closed their doors across British shopping locations in the first half of this year.

This averages out at nearly 50 stores per day across city centres, high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the shift to online shopping.

The number of closures far outweighed the number of new store openings, meaning there was a net decline of 5,251 stores over the first six months of 2021, according to new research by the Local Data Company and PwC.

Fashion shops were most affected, with more than 1,000 closures including Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia empire.

126 department stores also shuttered their doors, including high street stalwart Debenhams.

The data also revealed that city centres have suffered most with store closures, with London now the worst-performing region for the last two years, where it had previously been the best.

PwC consumer markets lead Lisa Hooker said: “After an acceleration in store closures last year coupled with last-minute Christmas tier restrictions and lockdowns extending into 2021, we might have expected a higher number of store closures this year.

“However, operators are far from out of the woods and the next six months will be a make or break for many chains, particularly with the reinstatement of full business rates for all but the smallest operators, the winding down of furlough support and agreement yet to be reached between many operators and landlords on rent arrears.”