Almost 15,000 jobs have been lost in the retail sector since the start of the year, according to a report by the Centre for Retail Research, which describes the trend as “brutal”.
Its research has tracked 14,874 retail job losses since the start of 2023, with most coming from larger retailers such as Tesco and Asda. A total of 11,689 roles were cut due to cost-cutting programmes and restructuring operations, it found.
Tesco announced a restructure on 1 February, placing 1,750 team manager posts in larger stores at risk, alongside a number of call centre and head office roles.
A number of high street chains such as Paperchase and M&Co have announced they are going into administration in recent weeks, leading to considerable job losses, while other chains including New Look have said they will reduce store numbers.
Prof Joshua Bamfield, managing director at the Centre for Retail Research, said: “The process of rationalisation will continue at pace as retailers continue to reduce their cost base. We are unlikely to see any respite in job losses in 2023 after a brutal start to the year.”
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According to the British Retail Consortium, just under 3 million people were employed in the retail sector in the second quarter of 2022, around 63,000 fewer than the same quarter a year before.
The Centre for Retail Research said that the pandemic’s impact on shopping trends – where many shifted to doing their shopping online – continues to have an effect, with footfall in the high street down around 10-15% compared with 2019. Business rates have also impacted retailers’ ability to stay in physical premises, it said.
Despite the overall trend downwards, a few retailers are bucking the trend. Last week discount supermarket chain Aldi announced plans to create 6,000 new jobs in 2023, and last month Marks and Spencer announced 3,400 new jobs as it opens “bigger and better” stores across the UK.
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