Budget chains B&M, Iceland and Wilko closing dozens of high street stores as 'culture of bargain-hunting is over'

12 March 2023, 18:56

Wilko is closing 15 stores with expensive long leases
Wilko is closing 15 stores with expensive long leases. Picture: Alamy

By Adam Solomons

Budget high street chains B&M, Iceland and Wilko are closing dozens of stores this month as experts say the era of bargain-hunting for fun is over.

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Along with pub giant Wetherspoon, the three retail chains are closing 45 sites on UK high streets in the first three months of this year.

Wilkinson has blamed expensive long leases on the 15 stores it will close, while B&M blamed redevelopments affecting its six stores set to shut.

Major towns affected by the changes include Birmingham, Bristol, London and Belfast.

Read more: Lloyds Pharmacy puts all 1,300 branches 'at risk' of closure in major blow for high street

Read more: 40 more banks to disappear from high streets as Lloyds and Halifax close down branches

B&M has closed or is closing five stores throughout the country
B&M has closed or is closing five stores throughout the country. Picture: Alamy

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates told MailOnline that the trend of bargain-hunting for the sake of it is over for now.

She said: "There's no denying the cost of living crisis has pushed more Brits to the bargain-end of the shopping spectrum than ever before.

"This is a trend most acutely felt at the supermarket and the bigger names are having to compromise on margins in a bid to keep up with ultra-low prices.

"However, the culture of bargain-hunting for fun is over, at least for now.

"People are sniffing out lower-cost essentials, like food, but aren't being pulled towards other discount shops in the same way."

Iceland is shutting six supermarkets this month alone
Iceland is shutting six supermarkets this month alone. Picture: Alamy

The news comes within days of Lloyds Pharmacy announcing that all 1,300 of its pharmacies are at risk of closure, blaming difficult market conditions.

The chemist's private equity owner launched a strategic review of its entire UK store base, with the sale or closure of them all on the cards.

Lloyds Pharmacy already announced the closure of 237 of its chemists in Sainsbury’s supermarkets by the end of the year, having also shut 76 stores in 2022.

Bank closures have also continued this year as Halifax and Lloyds are closing 40 branches between them because of plummeting visitor numbers.

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