The number of retail jobs expected to be lost in 2019 will hit 164,100, a 19.2% increase on 2018, new research has found.
A total of 22,100 shops will close in 2019, up 19.8% on 2018 figures, according to The Centre of Retail Research.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, from The Centre for Retail Research, said retail conditions will worsen in 2019: “We expect a number of major retailer chains to hit the buffers in 2019 and go into administration or seek approval for CVAs, of which HMV may be only the first. Most retailers are likely to bring forward plans for store closures and jobs-shedding.
“It is noteworthy that independents are expected to make up half of the job losses in retailing in 2019: the continual attrition of the independent sector may mean that the large shopping chains of the future will not come into existence. Intense pain will also be felt by commercial property owners in cities and retail parks.”
He added: “Consumers have shown over Christmas they are increasingly anxious and have become more careful about spending money. The bitchy nature of political debate on either side of the Brexit debate further undermines consumer confidence and makes shoppers doubt whether anyone is in charge. It is time for the government and local authorities to make a strong effort to save the high street and cutting business rates as a priority would be a welcome first start.”
Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus Group, said: “The Budget measures, whilst great for independent retailers with smaller premises, show little thought about where taxpayer money would be best spent and does nothing to help those major retailers who are reducing their store portfolios and headcount often citing high rates as a contributory factor.”