More than 24,000 jobs already axed through retail collapses in 2020

More than 24,000 jobs have already been lost at high street retailers in administration in the first half of 2020 after the coronavirus lockdown sparked the collapse of a raft of well-known brands.

New figures from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) have revealed that 24,348 jobs have already been lost across insolvent UK retailers, with experts from the organisation warning this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It also revealed that 31,628 jobs are still at risk of being permanently axed at retailers, with many still expected to permanently close some stores.

Experts said this represents almost 56,000 retail workers who have been impacted by retail administrations, which is already higher than the total of workers impacted by insolvencies in the sector for the whole of 2019.

Last year, a total of 2,051 stores and 46,506 jobs were affected by major retail insolvencies.

Laura Ashley goes into administration
Fashion retailer Laura Ashley collapsed into administration in March (Yui Mok/PA)

A host of major high street brands, such as Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize, Cath Kidston, Quiz and Victoria’s Secret have all entered insolvency after being forced to shut their doors in March.

The CRR said a further 15,300 jobs have already been shed at solvent large retailers looking to cut costs.

Over the past week, Harrods, Arcadia and John Lewis all confirmed plans to cut jobs in a bid to secure their financial futures.

Joshua Bamfield, director at the CRR warned the situation could worsen.

“With the tapering of furlough from next month and the scheduled end of the lease forfeiture moratorium in September, the second half of the year could be disastrous for high streets,” he said.

“The Government should reduce VAT to 15% and institute free parking on Council-owned car parks for the next six months to act as a high street stimulus, as well as requiring all public lavatories to be reopened.”

According to the real estate adviser Altus Group, there were 515,359 retail properties in England and Wales at the end of last year, representing a 2% improvement on 2018.

Alex Probyn, UK president at Altus, said: “The summer statement next week presents the Chancellor with a golden opportunity to bolster the economy after three months of lockdown with targeted and immediate measures designed to boost jobs and promote growth.”

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