Almost 150,000 retail jobs and 20,000 shops closed this year on the UK’s high streets, new research has shown.
The figures compiled by the Centre for Retail Research show that, across the retail and hospitality sectors, 148,132 jobs have been lost.
A total of 94,256 jobs were lost through administrations and liquidations, while a further 29,664 jobs have been lost through company voluntary arrangements (CVAs).
A further 24,212 jobs were lost through companies reducing their estates and headcount, causing a total of 19,631 outlets to cease trading during 2018.
Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Each one of these figures is a personal tragedy for the people involved and the community where the shops are located.
“While parliament is obsessed with Brexit, business rates and low growth are killing the high street. We feel that 2019 is going to be a repeat of these dire figures, unless or until the government takes action to provide a level playing field for both online retailers and the high street.”
Robert Hayton, executive vice-president and national head of property tax at real estate adviser Altus Group, said next year will be “critical” for the high street: “In the first quarter of 2019, once the dust has settled after the Christmas trading period, I envisage an intensification of action taken by businesses to reduce not only the extent of their estates but those rental costs, too, ahead of the critical 1 April 2019 assessment date that will determine business rates liabilities from 2021.”