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The woes of the High Street only deepen, it seems, with an average of 14 shops closing across the UK every day. That’s according to a report from accountancy firm PwC, which has found 2,692 stores shut in the first half of this year and only 1,569 new ones opened.
Fashion and electricals were the biggest casualties – Maplin, New Look, Debenhams, House of Fraser, to name a few. Restaurants and pubs also suffered, including the likes of Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian and Strada. London was hit worst, but cities like Leeds, Reading and Newcastle also saw significant losses.
The reasons are familiar – the continued shift to online combined with the pressures of business rates and a rising minimum wage. We also seem to have fallen out of love with the department store. The solutions, however, remain elusive. In last month’s Budget, the chancellor promised to cut business rates for small firms and tax online giants – but will that help?
It’s not all bad though. Supermarkets, booksellers, ice cream parlours and coffee shops all saw slim net gains in their store counts. The BBC has spoken to Asian businesses bucking the trend and visited one town that may have found the recipe for success. This week, we also heard from influencers about what Marks and Spencer can do to turn things around.
Time to remember
This weekend, the country will mark 100 years since the signing of the Armistice which signalled the end of World War One. The agreement required a defeated Germany to leave all occupied territories in Western Europe within two weeks. On Friday, Theresa May will lay wreaths on the graves of John Parr, the first UK soldier to be killed in the war, and George Ellison, the last.
On Sunday, Remembrance Day itself, about 70 world leaders will take part in a ceremony on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Among them will be German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the BBC has spoken to three ordinary Germans about how their country can mourn its dead without whitewashing the past.
Until now, even those who’ve crossed the border from Mexico illegally have been entitled to appeal for asylum in the US. Entitled to make the case that they should be allowed to stay. Well, not any more. Immigration was a major focus in President Trump’s mid-term election campaign and now his administration says illegal migrants will no longer be eligible for asylum. Human rights groups have attacked the move and declared it illegal.
Quiz of the week
Have you been paying attention? Find out.
How Tom Hardy won bedtime
By Gerry Holt, BBC News
Millions of parents know and love (or perhaps not) that last stretch of the day before their child’s bedtime. While mums and dads crawl to the finish line, daring to dream of the moment they get to sit down and watch Netflix with a gin and tonic, their beloved little folk somehow get a second, rather incredible, burst of life. But just when you think it’s game over, in steps Tom. “Hello,” says the actor, “I’m Tom.” For seven whole minutes the room is transfixed by Hollywood star Tom Hardy’s intense but soothing voice. And his choice of pyjamas.
What the papers say
Several of the papers lead with the Brexit negotiations. The Times reports on a leaked letter suggesting that the final deal will include an EU plan to leave Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union if there is no solution to the border problem. The Daily Telegraph says it can reveal that senior Brussels diplomats have demanded wide-ranging access to British coastal waters for EU fishing fleets in return for any plan to include the whole of the UK in a temporary customs union. The Metro pokes fun at Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab for a remark he made about Dover. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, claims a flu vaccine shortage has left thousands of over-65s unable to get jabs. And finally, several tabloids lead with tales of a “bust-up” behind the scenes on Strictly.
Lack of diversity Why has the parole board got no black members?
Bullying Children point the finger at adults
Fertility “Remarkable” decline in the number of children being born
Paypal Platform stops handling payments for Tommy Robinson
If you see one thing today
If you listen to one thing today
If you read one thing today
10:00 Grenfell inquiry hears from Marcio Gomes – he and his wife escaped the fire but lost their unborn baby hours later
17:00 10,000 flames will be lit to illuminate the Tower of London’s moat as part of Armistice Day commemorations
On this day
1989 Berliners celebrate the fall of the wall that has divided their city for nearly three decades