New data shows 19 per cent of shops in the West Midlands are laying vacant.
The number of shop vacancies in the region is significantly ahead the 14.5 per cent average across the UK, according to the Local Data Company (LDC).
And with vacancy rates across the country rising from 12 per cent, with experts predicting some high streets will never return to their pre-recession days.
The report claims that the many changes taking place in British retailing have left the high street shop facing “its greatest challenge for survival in its history”.
The study has revealed a significant North-South divide, with northern and midland regions well above the national average with a 16.5 per cent vacancy rate and southern regions below it at 12.3 per cent.
And large centres have a significantly higher vacancy rate than average at 16.5 per cent, compared with smaller centres at around 12 per cent.
Rates for large centres in London, the South East, the East and the South West are all around 14 per cent while Scotland has the lowest regional rate at 12.6 per cent.
Smaller centres in the North West have the highest vacancy at over 17 per cent followed by the North East at 15 per cent, while Yorkshire and the Humber are even higher at nearly 21%.
The report said retailers were set to face increasing prices, raised taxes and falling demand this year, with vacancies already at “cyclically high levels”.
The report adds: “Whichever way you look at it, fundamental structural changes are taking place in UK retail at the retailer and consumer levels.
"The very fact that 10 years ago the majority of a multiple retailer’s stores were on a high street but now are migrating from the high street into shopping centres and out-of-town shopping parks begs the question of what will fill the high street of 2020 and beyond?”