More than 150 shop worker jobs were lost every day last year as the bloodbath on Britain’s high streets continued
More than 150 shop worker jobs were lost every day last year as the bloodbath on Britain’s high streets continued.
There were 57,000 fewer roles by the end of 2019 than a year earlier, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), following the 16th quarterly decline in a row.
The job losses came in what the BRC said had been the worst year for retail sales growth on record.
Go slow: The job losses came in what the BRC said had been the worst year for retail sales growth on record
Shops have been clobbered by rising business rates, sky-high rents and brutal competition from online rivals.
The crisis has been highlighted by the Mail’s Save Our High Streets campaign.
BRC boss Helen Dickinson accused the Government of not doing enough to support the sector and renewed calls for wholesale reform of crippling rates.
She said: ‘There were many challenges in 2019: businesses had to contend with the repeated risk of No-Deal Brexit, a general election and the transformation of the industry, leading to weak consumer demand.
‘As a result, employment has suffered in retail, which is the UK’s largest private sector employer.
‘It is worrying that the Government is standing by while tens of thousands of jobs are being lost.
‘If the same was true in manufacturing or aviation, one can be sure that the Government would act.’ The consortium’s research found almost two out of five employers in retail companies plan to hire fewer workers in the coming months.
And they will be cutting staff anyway following the ‘golden quarter’ covering the busy Christmas period.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We recognise retail has had a challenging year and continue to work with the sector to identify pressures and steps to address them.
‘This includes the delivery of the £1 billion Future High Streets Fund to support local areas in England to renew high streets and our review into business rates, as well as cutting business rates for small retailers by a third this year.’