There has been an acceleration in the number of chain stores closing on the UK's high streets - hitting 32 a day on average amid high rent bills and the recession.
According to data released by professional services firm PwC and the Local Data Company (LDC), an average of 20 shut their doors every 24 hours in the first half of 2012.
It amounted to a net reduction of 953 shops compared to 174 shops in the whole of 2011, the research suggested.
The problem deteriorated between June and August, it was claimed, as shoppers shifted their attention to the Olympics.
Toy shops, clothes shops, jewellers, card and poster shops and furniture stores suffered particularly badly in the first half while discount and convenience stores, coffee shops, bookmakers and charity shops mostly bucked the trend.
The south east was the worst affected region in the first half with 215 net closures, followed by the West Midlands with 160 and the south west with 129.
Towns and cities badly hit included Manchester, Preston, Bristol, Croydon, Sheffield, Derby and Leicester, the report's authors said.