A new study has claimed that over one in five of Britain’s high street shops could close by 2018 amid a rising fever among customers to turn to the internet for their shopping.The study, carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, warned that 62,000 shops would fold in the next five years, with almost 316,000 workers losing their jobs a result of the downturn in high street shopping. The centre is the UK’s independent retail analysis group, which said in its report entitled “Retail Futures 2018”, the country needs a £320million to redevelop redundant shopping streets and convert disused outlets. According to estimates online shopping currently accounts for 12.7 percent of retail spending. However, this is expected to surge to 22 percent by 2018. Professor Joshua Bamfield’s report said the first closures will be pharmacies and health and beauty stores, followed by those selling music, books, cards, stationery and gifts, as well as DIY outlets. “The total number of UK retail stores will fall by 22 percent over the next five years from 281,930 to 220,000 in 2018”, said Prof Bamfield. “If no action is taken, store vacancy rates could almost double to 24 percent. Already this year, 16 major retailers have gone into administration operating 1,985 shops and employing 14,719 staff.” “By the end of 2018, research predicts that a further 164 companies will go bust, taking 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees with them”, added the Prof.