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Oxford Street is CLOSED for business: How London’s iconic shopping destination has transformed with dozens of stores now lying empty

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Oxford Street was once the flagship location for Britain’s high-end stores but the shopping destination is becoming increasingly abandoned by the big name brands that earned it such esteem.

Photos taken by MailOnline have revealed how Oxford Street has suffered and is now home to empty shells of ornate stonework stores that used to house some of the UK’s most famous brands.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of the British high street forever as iconic brands were plunged into administration and forced to close their doors.

Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, told MailOnline: ‘The number of empty storefronts remains around 10 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.’ 

As big names such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, Oasis and Warehouse disappeared, city centres across the country were left with empty windows and people instead searching for their favourite labels online.

Despite this, shoppers continue to creep back, with footfall up 10% year-on-year last week and up 38% since the beginning of the year, according to New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers and hoteliers in the area.

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In 2020 Oxford Street’s Mango was bustling but just three years later the storefront is boarded up in a sign of the times on the once-iconic destination

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Before the pandemic, Swiss watchmaker Tissot had a store beside Bond St tube station but as photographed this week, the store is now empty

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In 2019 this store was closing down ahead of tough times. Four years later, the store remains closed, although it looks like other brands had a go at filling the space

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In 2019 Adidas stood proudly on Oxford Street and even boasted an ornate stone archway as an entrance. Yet by this year the store was empty, another ghost shop on Oxford Street

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Just last year 486 Oxford Street housed Russell &amp; Bromley. However, as pictured this week, the store is now closed, with a sign saying ‘goodbye for now’ pasted on th windows

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In 2018 Currency Exchange occupied the space at 343 Oxford Street. However, half a decade later the store is shuttered and seemingly empty

Britain’s high streets were already in a state of decline as shoppers increasingly turned to online fast fashion.

Yet the pandemic has been blamed for the eventual closures of popular shops.

Big name brands have fled Oxford Street, leaving behind ghost stores in the once-iconic shopping destination. 

One of the most famous to go has been Topshop. 

Just a decade ago, Topshop was the undisputed queen of the British high street.

This space for a store at 68 Oxford Street boasts 'an exciting 2,419 sq ft' of 'retail opportunity' but is currently empty

This space for a store at 68 Oxford Street boasts ‘an exciting 2,419 sq ft’ of ‘retail opportunity’ but is currently empty

A view from inside the store, suggests it used to be a cafe to cater to shopaholics visiting the world famous Oxford Street

A view from inside the store, suggests it used to be a cafe to cater to shopaholics visiting the world famous Oxford Street

The shopping destination is littered with shuttered shops and ghost stores, which could be a sign of the lasting effects of the pandemic

The shopping destination is littered with shuttered shops and ghost stores, which could be a sign of the lasting effects of the pandemic

Topshop's doors closed forever after rescue plans to save the Arcadia group, owned by billionaire Sir Philip Green, failed and it entered administration in November 2021, making up to 2500 staff members redundant

Topshop’s doors closed forever after rescue plans to save the Arcadia group, owned by billionaire Sir Philip Green, failed and it entered administration in November 2021, making up to 2500 staff members redundant

Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, told MailOnline: 'The number of empty storefronts remains around 10 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels'

Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, told MailOnline: ‘The number of empty storefronts remains around 10 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels’

This corner storefront at 145 Oxford Street is closed for business, as so many are on the formerly legendary road

This corner storefront at 145 Oxford Street is closed for business, as so many are on the formerly legendary road

The inside of the store revealed a large expanse with signs building work had been carried out on the shop

The inside of the store revealed a large expanse with signs building work had been carried out on the shop

With its trendy clothes, sell-out designer collaborations and 100,000 sq ft Oxford Street flagship store, the brand attracted everyone from tourists and teenagers to It Girls and fashion editors.

It is believed that aggressive competition from the likes of PrettyLittleThing, Boohoo and Missguided, which have lured Gen Z shoppers with their ultra fast fashion and even faster delivery times – perfect for a generation focused on showcasing style on social media – contributed to its demise. 

The burden of Topshop’s 510 branches, including some 300 in the UK, was felt more keenly than ever as the Covid-19 pandemic led to a dramatic drop in footfall and a record number of shops closing during the first half of 2020.

And its doors closed forever after rescue plans to save the Arcadia group, owned by billionaire Sir Philip Green, failed and it entered administration in November 2021, making up to 2500 staff members redundant.

ASOS bought Topshop, alongside Topman and Miss Selfridge in April 2021 as part of a £330million deal to save the brands. The deal did not include the physical shops but you can still buy Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge clothes online on ASOS’ website.

Lisa Byfield-Green, Retail Week's data and insights director, said she expected more High Street brands to go under due to the tough economic conditions

Lisa Byfield-Green, Retail Week’s data and insights director, said she expected more High Street brands to go under due to the tough economic conditions

She said: 'Investors are nervous right now in the difficult economic environment. Companies are also receiving no relief from rising business rates, which puts many high street businesses in danger'

She said: ‘Investors are nervous right now in the difficult economic environment. Companies are also receiving no relief from rising business rates, which puts many high street businesses in danger’

Stores on Oxford Street have been shuttered side by side in the aftermath of the pandemic, which has in-part prompted financial woe for so many

Stores on Oxford Street have been shuttered side by side in the aftermath of the pandemic, which has in-part prompted financial woe for so many

Oya's storefront was advertising a long-gone London clearance sale for the shop's products at the heart of the capital

Oya’s storefront was advertising a long-gone London clearance sale for the shop’s products at the heart of the capital

Byfield-Green added: 'The market will diverge between success stories and those that cannot sustain the weight of the mounting cost of doing business'

Byfield-Green added: ‘The market will diverge between success stories and those that cannot sustain the weight of the mounting cost of doing business’

Lisa Byfield-Green, Retail Week’s data and insights director, said she expected more High Street brands to go under due to the tough economic conditions.

‘Investors are nervous right now in the difficult economic environment. Companies are also receiving no relief from rising business rates, which puts many high street businesses in danger,’ she said.

‘We expect to see the continuation of these difficulties into 2023. As the strain continues to mount, smaller and struggling retailers will be snapped up by larger brands (e.g. Next acquiring Made) or fall into administration. The market will diverge between success stories and those that cannot sustain the weight of the mounting cost of doing business.

While some shops have remained open on the street, others appear to be closed and shuttered

While some shops have remained open on the street, others appear to be closed and shuttered

Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, has warned that the 'toxic cocktail' of rising taxes, energy costs, inflation and shrinking economic growth means 'action is needed right now'

Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, has warned that the ‘toxic cocktail’ of rising taxes, energy costs, inflation and shrinking economic growth means ‘action is needed right now’

Mina London was seen shuttered and empty, with graffiti on its exterior walls, when it was photographed earlier this week

Mina London was seen shuttered and empty, with graffiti on its exterior walls, when it was photographed earlier this week

Adverts trying to tempt brands to return to Oxford Street appeared in many shop windows, like here on 73 - 89 Oxford Street

Adverts trying to tempt brands to return to Oxford Street appeared in many shop windows, like here on 73 – 89 Oxford Street

Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: 'The cost of living crisis can't be solved without addressing the cost of doing business crisis'

Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: ‘The cost of living crisis can’t be solved without addressing the cost of doing business crisis’

Oxford Street seemed largely closed for business with so many stores closed and shuttered on the famous British high street

Oxford Street seemed largely closed for business with so many stores closed and shuttered on the famous British high street

‘Retailers will need to take decisive action to lean into their existing proposition and strip back operational overheads or diversify beyond retail to generate new revenue streams. Sadly, we anticipate that more retailers are likely to fall victim to the intense economic pressures.’

Small businesses have also been unable to cope with the soaring cost of energy.

Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, has warned that the ‘toxic cocktail’ of rising taxes, energy costs, inflation and shrinking economic growth means ‘action is needed right now’.

He said: ‘The cost of living crisis can’t be solved without addressing the cost of doing business crisis.’

Source: Daily Mail UK

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