24,000 UK high street jobs have been cut this year
High street retailers have axed more than 24,000 jobs this year amid fears that Covid-19 will fundamentally change the way Britons shop.
According to industry data from the Centre for Retail Research, a further 31,628 retail jobs are still at risk of being scrapped due to a wave of store closures.
This means that almost 56,000 retail workers have been impacted by the cascade of insolvencies triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. This is significantly higher than the 46,500 workers impacted by insolvencies for the whole of 2019.
Some of the job losses are directly linked to store closures, with the likes of Laura Ashley, Monsoon Accessorize, Cath Kidston and Debenhams all announcing permanent closures due to falling into administration.
A total of 2,630 stores have closed in the year to date, compared to 2,051 for the whole of 2019. And with market conditions expected to worsen over the next few months, experts are warning that the figures may be “the tip of the iceberg”.
Reeling under pressure from the loss of store sales during the lockdown, many retailers are also cutting costs. John Lewis, Harrods and Arcadia have all confirmed plans to cut jobs to secure their financial futures.
Joshua Bamfield, director at the CRR said: “With the tapering of furlough from next month and the scheduled end of the lease forfeiture moratorium in September, the second half of the year could be disastrous for high streets.
“The Government should reduce VAT to 15% and institute free parking on Council-owned car parks for the next six months to act as a high street stimulus, as well as requiring all public lavatories to be reopened.”
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