Feb 20, 2023
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Almost 15,000 UK retail jobs lost already this year

Feb 20, 2023

Not yet two months into 2023 and 14,874 British retail jobs have already been cut in a “brutal start to the year” for the high street, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

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Several national retailers, including clothing chain M&Co, have entered administration in recent weeks, while New Look and supermarkets Tesco and Asda have all also announced job cuts.

M&Co is to close all of its 170 stores by April with the loss of almost 2,000 jobs.

Large retail chains (those with 10 or more stores) are among the firms cutting jobs on UK high streets, as well as at other main shopping destinations, the research found

Most of the job losses – 11,689 – are at large retailers who are carrying out cost-cutting programmes and restructuring operations. Meanwhile, a further 3,185 jobs have been lost at large retailers that have collapsed and are undergoing insolvency proceedings.

Prof Joshua Bamfield, the CRR’s director, told The Guardian newspaper: “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.”

The figures are likely to increase pressure on chancellor Jeremy Hunt to reform business rates at the next budget on 15 March. A major employers’ group has written to the Chancellor demanding structural changes to the commercial property tax, which it called “pernicious”.

A reset of the tax from April 1 under a national revaluation will reduce the rateable values used to work out rates, with new bills being discounted by 75% up to a cash cap of £110,000 per business. The Treasury has said this could mean overall bills in the retail sector falling by 20%.

However, Alex Probyn, head of property tax at real estate advisor Altus Group, told The Times newspaper: “The reality is most multiple retailers will only benefit from the discount on a handful of their stores given the cap.”

In a letter to the Chancellor, UK employers’ group the Federation of Small Businesses, said the threshold at which small businesses start paying rates should be raised, paid for by charging large businesses occupying the most valuable properties more.


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