Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy has described the rise of supermarkets and the closure of small shops across the country as "part of progress".
Sir Terry ran the supermarket giant for more than a decade which saw it become one of the world's biggest retailers, but critics have accused it of driving smaller independent shops out of business and turning town centres into ghost towns.
Supermarket Sweep - Tips & Advice
Appearing on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, he told host Kirsty Young he had mixed feelings on the issue.
Asked if seeing boarded-up shops made him sad, Sir Terry said: "It does but it is part of progress. People are not made to shop in supermarkets, they choose to shop there.
"High streets - some of them are medieval and the way that we live our lives now is very different, so what you have to do is make sure the benefits do outweigh the costs, and I think that they do."
The Liverpool-born businessman told Young his devotion to Tesco was so strong that he bribed his children to inform on their mother if she ever shopped at Waitrose.
He also revealed an unlikely connection with punk rockers UK Subs - telling Young how he lived in a flat above theirs and once kept them awake by listening to his radio too loudly.
He said: "I came down to London round about 1980 and it was just at the time of punk music and new wave music, and I got an attic flat in London above a punk rock band called the UK Subs.
"They used to play their music every day to four in the morning and I would be rocked to sleep by the UK Subs, and then I was up one morning with the Today Programme on my transistor radio and there was a bang on the door and it was a man in a leopard skin leotard and he said 'Will you turn that radio down? I'm trying to get some sleep'."
Mothercare has long been battling tough highstreet conditions and continues to struggle against competition from rival Kiddicare as well as supermarkets and websites. In an attempt to boost profits, the baby products retailer recently launched a new-look 30,000 square foot store in north London, including an area to test buggies and prams plus a Costa Coffee.</p>
Despite recruiting famous yummy mummy, Mylene Class, to front the opening, and launching Jools Oliver's Little Bird collection in stores last week, City pundits warn it could be a case of too little too late.</p>
- Clinton Cards
The greetings cards specialist became the latest highstreet casualty in May with 8,000 jobs on the line when it was forced it into administration. Its biggest supplier, American Greetings, then bought Clintons out of administration and put the retailer through a rebrand including a new logo and complete in-store revamps.</p>
Its contemporary format includes new fixtures and fittings and easier to navigate stores, and will be rolled out to all 400 UK stores at the cost of £16million. Bosses aim to bring the brand back to profit within two years.</p>
- Thomas Cook
Battling high debt levels and a downturn in the global travel sector, Thomas Cook was brought back from the brink by a £1.4bn refinancing packaging in May, giving it a further three years to repay its debts. Soon after, the firm recruited new chief executive Harriet Green, who faces the task of reviving the travel company which last year issued three profit warnings and was forced to take an emergency £200m loan.</p>
The troubled tour operator hit difficulty in 2011 when the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa affected its operations in Egypt and Tunisia. The position worsened due to a fall in overall bookings by cash-strapped UK consumers, as well as the company's high debt levels.</p>
- La Senza
Poor sales in the run up to Christmas was the final nail in the coffin for several struggling chains, including lingerie retailer La Senza, which went bust in January 2012 with 146 shops and 2,600 staff. Kuwaiti retailer Alshaya bought part of the business, which saved 60 shops and 1,000 staff.</p>
La Senza has been struggling in a similar way to other specialist shops such as Game and Mothercare, which have been hit by cut-price competition at supermarkets and have no alternative products to help shoulder losses.</p>
- Blacks Leisure
Stricken retailer Blacks Leisure, which employed 3,600 staff across 98 Blacks stores and 208 Millets stores, went into administration in Janurary 2012 after failing to find an outright buyer.</p>
Soon after its stores were bought by sportswear firm JD Sports in pre-pack deal - an insolvency procedure which sees a company being sold immediately after it has entered administration – which saw most of Blacks' £36 million of debt wiped out.</p>
Fashion chain Bonmarche, which was part of the Peacock Group, was sold in January when the group collapsed due to unsustainable debts, resulting in 1,400 job losses and 160 store closures. Private equity firm Sun European Partners bought 230 stores, which continue to trade with 2,400 staff.</p>
Administrators sounded the death knell for Woolworths in December 2008, leading to store closures that left 27,000 people out of work. Since its collapse former Woolworths stores have become a blight in many town centres and more than 100 of the large stores still lay vacant in January 2012.</p>
Loyal customers didn't have go without the family favourite store for long however as it reappeared online as Woolworths.co.uk in 2009, after Shop Direct Home Shopping bought out the Woolworths name.</p>
Peacocks collapsed under a £740 million net debt mountain in January 2012 in the biggest retail failure since Woolworths. Despite being sold out of administration to Edinburgh Woollen Mill in a deal that saved 380 stores and 6,000 jobs, administrators from KPMG were forced to close 224 stores with immediate effect. This lead to 3,350 redundancies from stores and Peacocks head office in Cardiff.</p>
The high street name continues trading as bosses work to stabilise the situation, yet a further blow was dealt this month with news that the firm's pension fund is in £15.8 million shortfall as a result of the collapse.</p>
Game buckled under its £85m debt pile in March 2012 and was placed into administration after being unable to pay a £21m rent bill. Administrator PwC immediately closed 277 shops, with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Soon after, investment firm, OpCapita bought 333 Game stores, saving more than 3,000 jobs.</p>
Game's demise followed a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including leading names Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing the latest games, further damaging poor sales.</p>