High Street

Retail sector set for 200,000 job losses

Up to 358 stores could reportedly close for each week of 2021

The UK’s retail sector has been forecasted to see 200,000 job losses in 2021, as Covid-19 continues to cause deep challenges to the industry, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

The research group has predicted an 18% rise in retail closures this year, resulting in British high street losing up to 358 stores a week.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, who carried out the research, said via the BBC, that it will be a “very grim year” as fashion outlets, town centres, and department stores face great “difficulties” without further government support in the coming months.

An average of 320 high street stores were already closed every week during 2020, with cash flow problems, rent payments, and a spike in e-commerce contributing to the downfall of physical stores.

The latest figures from the CRR highlighted the issues of “high costs” and “low profitability” that physical outlets face, inserting that online shopping has grown in place of physical retail.

The report said: “These problems are felt by most businesses operating from physical stores in high streets, shopping malls or neighbourhoods. 

“The low growth in consumer spending since 2015 has meant that the growth in online sales comes at the expense of the high street.”

The gloomy outlook comes as the UK retail sector suffered its largest year-on-year fall in sales (1.9%) since records began in 1997, according to the ONS.

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