Britain’s high streets remain in the mire

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Fears over the high street were fuelled today after it emerged that demand for space was falling even before the collapse of three major players.

A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (Rics) revealed a 13 per cent fall in the net balance of businesses looking at retail premises to rent in the final three months of the year, against an 18 per cent fall the previous quarter. Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said the end of 2012 was “yet another incredibly tough period for the high street” and had been brought to a head by the recent news of Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops, which went into administration this month.

“Sadly, this downbeat picture doesn’t look like changing any time soon,” he added.