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Almost 15,000 retail jobs lost so far this year

Written by: Emma Lunn
Data from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) found there have been 14,874 job cuts or announced redundancies since the beginning of 2023.

High street stalwarts such as Paperchase, M&Co and Tile Giant have all gone bust in recent weeks, while Wilko, New Look, Tesco and Asda have all also announced job cuts.

CRR research found that large retail chains, which have 10 or more stores, are among those cutting jobs on UK high streets, as well as at main shopping destinations.

The CRR found that 11,689 jobs lost are at large retailers including Tesco and Asda who are carrying out cost cutting programmes and restructuring operations. A further 3,185 jobs have been lost at large retailers which have collapsed and are undergoing insolvency proceedings.

For example, stationery specialist retailer Paperchase fell into administration in January. Its brand and its intellectual property were subsequently bought by Tesco, but the deal didn’t include taking on staff at Paperchase’s 106 stores across the UK and Ireland, meaning the immediate loss of 250 jobs, with an uncertain future for 500 other staff.

Prof Joshua Bamfield, CRR director, 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.”

Retail job losses have been mounting for several years, but the CRR said the Covid pandemic accelerated pre-existing trends in shopping behaviour, such as online shopping, and that consumers have not reverted fully to their pre-pandemic behaviour.

The CRR added that footfall in the high street in 2022 was 10% to 15% below the level of 2019, and may never get back to the levels of the latter 2010s.

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