Close to 125,000 UK retail jobs lost
Sep 11, 2020
New figures show the extent of retail’s Covid-19 jobs crisis, with challenges associated with the lockdown wiping out more than 125,500 retail jobs in the first eight months of the year.
Nearly 15,700 roles were lost every month, while 13,867 shops have closed down, data from the Centre for Retail Research has found.
Major retail chains including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Boots and John Lewis joined scores of independent retailers in downsizing in a bid to counteract declining sales.
Small stores shed 32,598 jobs between January and August while larger retail businesses cut a total of 92,917 jobs. So far, retailers falling into administration resulted in 43,381 job losses across the UK, while company voluntary agreements - the controversial insolvency procedure - were responsible for 10,556 job cuts.
Despite the Government’s efforts to support companies during the lockdown via the furlough scheme and business rates holiday, the number of job losses is 31.5% higher than during the same period in 2019. And the sector is bracing for a second wave of redundancies this Autumn when the furlough scheme comes to an end.
While the lockdown did inflict some serious damage on UK retail, the Centre for Retail Research noted that “retail was already in crisis before the pandemic”, hurt by increasing costs and the shift to online shopping.
Professor Joshua Bamfield said: “Covid-19 has been a real hammer blow for retailers, many of which were not in good health before the contagion took a hand. The prospects for many non-food retailers are bleak.”
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