Up to 200,000 High Street jobs at risk this year due to Covid, experts warn

UP to 200,000 more High Street jobs could go this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, experts say.

The dire prediction from the Centre for Retail Research comes after 177,000 jobs were axed in 2020, itself a record.

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Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Difficulties are expected in the New Year and several retailers could collapse.”

He blamed the financial fallout from the pandemic plus the surge in online shopping.

Casualties last year included Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia, Debenhams and Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the owner of Peacocks

Nearly 40,000 retailers are in significant financial distress, insolvency experts Begbies Traynor has said.

Many are small or medium sized firms.

Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “The effects of Covid will create a chill throughout the whole of 2021, with it likely we are currently seeing only the tip of the iceberg for financial distress amongst businesses.

“More high profile retail insolvencies are probable as the pandemic takes its toll.”

Retail bosses are calling for the business rates holiday to be extended beyond April as well as for wider rates reform.

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