Almost 135,000 traditional retail jobs were lost during the course of the pandemic, according to an analysis of figures from trade union GMB.
It found that in 2019, there were an estimated 1.2 million sales and retail assistants, retail cashiers and check-out operators in the UK.
By 2021, however, this figure dropped to just under 1,075,000, according to the latest ONS figures.
Overall, sales and retail assistants and retail cashiers and check-out operators fell from 1,207,891 to 1,073,704.
“GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents – while our business rates system is archaic and no longer fit for purpose. Empty high streets and shopping centres that look like ghost towns are no good for anyone.”
GMB represents tens of thousands of workers in the retail sector.