UK lost 10,000 retail jobs already since the start of the year

  • A total of 9949 retail jobs have gone since the start of 2020, according to new research
  • Debenhams, Mothercare, Arcadia, HMV, Morrisons & Asda among those have closed stores or announced redundancy plans
  • A further 1400 jobs under threat with the collapse of Beales & Hawkin’s Bazaar in the past week

By  guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

Nearly 10000 jobs have been lost in retail since the start of 2020, according to new research. In all of 2019 57000 jobs were lost.

Debenhams, Mothercare and Asda are among several big brands to have closed stores or announced redundancy plans.

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

A total of 9949 positions have gone, analysis by the Centre for Retail Research found, with a further 1400 jobs under threat since department store Beales and toy retailer Hawkin’s Bazaar both fell into administration in the past week.

Other retailers closing stores or cutting jobs include Game, HMV, Arcadia and Morrisons.

Large-scale store closures have been widely blamed on the shift to shopping online.

Despite changing consumer habits, owners of retail property are putting their faith in 5G wireless technology as a potential high street saviour, a separate report has found.

Around 66 % of top British executives see cashier-less retail as one of the top two beneficial innovations to come with the introduction of 5G, according to Altus Group’s annual Commercial Real Estate Innovation Report.

A further 77 % said they expect the benefits of new tech in automated stock ordering to also help the struggling sector.

The report surveyed 400 major property owners and investors with more than GBP 200 million of assets under management.

Executives hope 5G will allow retailers to use both augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance the customer experience, while improving stock efficiencies and eliminating queues at checkouts.

The report acknowledges one of the short-term impacts of new technology could lead to further job losses, but executives said they believe it could also mean job creation in the longer term.

“5G presents a great opportunity for retailers to further improve the underlying performance of their physical stores by transforming the customer experience and shifting the role of their store personnel towards higher value tasks,” Altus Group executive director Scott Morey said.

“Shoppers fundamentally rely on stores during various stages of their shopping journey and 5G has the potential to further improve that interaction.”

The findings provide a more optimistic outlook than forecasts by the ONS in future, as will 60 per cent of staff working in stock control.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to decide later this week whether to allow the use of Chinese Huawei technology in Britain’s new 5G network despite protests from the US Government.

Morey said: “Whilst 5G will transform the consumer experience, the starting point will be for telecom companies and real estate owners to provide the infrastructure and physical location points so 5G can reach its full potential.”