High Street loses 176,000 jobs in 2020

The UK saw nearly 180,000 job losses in the retail sector last year, according to figures from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR.)

The research body said that it expects the sector to lose a further 200,000 jobs in the coming months, adding that the first half of 2021 will look much like that of last year “but worse.”

The implementation of COVID-19 tier restrictions and lockdowns across the UK over the past 12 months have played a significant role in increasing job cuts.

But the high-street has been in decline for several years, with the growth in online sales coming at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores.

The CRR said that the “retail crisis in jobs, businesses, stores and high streets has been coming for a long time.”

According to the retail research organisation, 'stop-start-stop' with lockdowns imposed at short notice through being moved from Tier 2 to Tier 4 has “brutally disadvantaged most non-food businesses.”

It added that online retailers “have generally done well,” but that a large proportion of retail trade is lost forever during lockdowns and is not recovered when stores are open again.

On top of store closures “social distancing, the queues to enter stores, and the frequent requests to use hand sanitisers and 'not to touch merchandise unless you are going to buy it'” has also impacted declining footfall on the high-street.

The CRR said it expects to see many more important retailers go bust, adding that this had been the worst year since 2008/9.

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