LONDON: Trusted UK retail brands that survive the economic downturn will be able to compete for some £3.9 billion (€2.8bn; £2.4bn) in revenues previously spent at chains that have fallen victim to the financial crisis, a new study produced by Verdict Research predicts.

The research company reports that around 100 retail chains have closed in Britain since the beginning of 2008, accounting for some 9,500 stores, or 24 million square feet of retail space.

Overall, these firms' combined sales reached £6.5bn, or 2.3% of forecast retail revenues for this year, but some of these companies have either been bought out or consolidated in new forms, meaning that only half of this total will be essentially "new" to the market.

The clothing and footwear sector has been worst hit by the credit crunch, with 42 chains folding since the start of last year, a group that was responsible for £2.7bn in sales and a total of 8.8 million square feet of retail space.

Some £1 billion, or 2.6%, of category spend should be up for grabs among surviving operators, with the remainder being diverted into reconstituted firms.

Around 6.5%, or £855m, of sales from the furniture and floorcoverings market will also be open to fresh competition, although the recovery of the housing market will play a key role in determining the speed at which spending improves.

Companies set to benefit from this trend are IKEA, the multinational furniture giant, and John Lewis, the department store chain.

Data sourced from The Times; additional content by WARC staff