More than 20,000 retail job losses in 2019

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Job losses on the high street rose in 2019, with 945 more employees being let go than in 2018, an ABC Finance report shows

In 2019 21,826 retail staff were made redundant. In comparison, there were a recorded 20,881 job losses in 2018 and just 6,884 in 2017.

The research combined the most widely-publicised instances of businesses entering into administration from SMEs up to iconic UK retail institutions. ABC Finance’s research also highlighted the closure of 9,000 physical UK locations and more than 125,000 redundancies from 2010 to 2019.

The retail areas hit hardest by administration between 2010 and 2019 were clothing (41%); household essentials (19%) such as furniture, plumbing and electricals; and general shopping (10%).

Those areas lesser affected were beauty and accessories (5%); food stores (5%), other – pet shops, stationers and travel agents (5%), restaurants – chains/cafes (4%); and gift stores (4%).

Well-known companies such as Thomas Cook, Mothercare and Jamie’s Italian went into administration in 2019, resulting in thousands of employees losing their jobs.

However, Martin Newman, founder of The Customer First Group and former head of e-commerce at Ted Baker and Burberry, said that once the current political uncertainty is resolved, the UK’s business administration issue will ease.

“Political uncertainty has fuelled a drop in consumer confidence and a subsequent tightening of belts. This has led to various brands losing sales on a like-for-like basis,” he said.

The report also suggested that a move away from ‘bricks and mortar’ shopping to online retail has been partly to blame for the death of the high street.

ABC Finance warned that these closures are ‘concerning’ because retail is estimated to generate 5% of the UK’s GDP.

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