Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

Bloodbath as nearly 15,000 jobs axed by struggling retailers this year

Jobs bloodbath as nearly 15,000 roles are axed by struggling retailers this year already – as Britain’s high street is clobbered by inflation and Covid crises

  • The Centre for Retail Research said that 14,874 jobs have been cut 
  • 3,185 job cuts from large retailers saw some form of insolvency proceedings

Almost 15,000 jobs have been slashed in a workplace bloodbath since the start of 2023 after a raft of collapses and restructurings on the high street, according to new figures.

Experts have warned that ‘the brutal start of the year’ could continue as cost pressures and weaker customer spending power take their toll.

The Centre for Retail Research said that 14,874 jobs have been cut or announced since the start of the year.

The total reflects cuts by large multiple retailers, which have 10 or more UK stores. It means overall industry job losses could be even higher once under-pressure independents are included.

The research showed 3,185 job cuts through large retailers undergoing some form of insolvency proceedings.

Almost 15,000 jobs have been slashed in since the start of 2023, including the likes of Paperchase, which tumbled into administration in recent weeks

Tesco has said it will shut counters and hot delis in an overhaul to affect around 2,100 jobs

This included the likes of Paperchase and M&Co, which both tumbled into administration in recent weeks.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, at the Centre for Retail Research, said: ‘The process of rationalisation will continue at pace as retailers continue to reduce their cost base.

‘We are unlikely to see any respite in job losses in 2023 after a brutal start to the year.’

Retailers have suffered as a result of pressure on consumer budgets, rises in their own energy bills and costly property taxes.

Business rates, the property tax facing high street firms and one of their largest costs, will be reset from April 1 – a national revaluation which is set to benefit many firms.

The Treasury has said the retail sector will ‘see its overall bills paid fall by 20%’ as firms also receive a 75% discount up to a cap of £110,000.

However, Alex Probyn, global president of property tax at real estate adviser Altus Group, said: ‘The reality is most multiple retailers will only benefit from the discount on a handful of their stores given the cap.’

He added: ‘Whilst the adjustments brought about by the revaluation are welcome, 10% overall just does not go far enough given the state of the market on the valuation date which is likely to lead to a tsunami of appeals.’

More than 500 staff at a New Look warehouse are at risk of redundancy, following the fashion retailer’s new plans

Meanwhile, a further 11,689 jobs are being shed by large retailers through ‘rationalisation’ as part of cost-cutting programmes.

These cuts include reductions by Tesco, Asda, Wilko and New Look since the start of last month.

Tesco has said it will shut its remaining food counters and hot delis in a shake-up that will impact around 2,100 jobs.

Britain’s largest supermarket has also announced it will be making a number of changes to store management roles and closing a number of in-shop pharmacies as part of the wide-ranging overhaul.

However, New Look is hoping to be able to re-employ some of those employees affected as it hires an extra 300 staff on the expanded day shift.

Discount chain Wilko is axing jobs – with more than 400 roles reportedly facing the axe, it was announced on Wednesday

A New Look spokesman said: ‘With this shift, it has become increasingly clear that the processes at the distribution centre no longer suit our operational needs.

‘Therefore, we are proposing a necessary change to working hours in the distribution centre, including the removal of the night shift. Regrettably, we expect this will result in a number of redundancies at the site.

READ MORE: Stationery chain Paperchase has fallen into administration, risking 820 jobs

‘We are focusing on supporting our affected colleagues at this time and we expect to be able to offer a considerable number of these individuals new roles on the day shift.’

The group is now in consultation with staff, with redundancies not set to take effect until mid-May.

It emerged on Wednesday that discount chain Wilko is axing jobs – with more than 400 roles reportedly facing being cut.

The retailer is now ‘in a fight for survival’ following a drop in sales.

With around 16,000 staff in the UK employed by Wilko, union representatives are said to be in talks with its bosses in an effort to reduce the number of job losses.

This includes assistant store managers, retail supervisors, head office managers and call centre workers.

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