UK lost 120,000 retail jobs in 2023

UK lost 120,000 retail jobs in 2023

2023 was a bruising year for UK retail with almost 120,000 sector jobs lost and more than 10,000 stores shuttered as inflation and tough economic conditions took their toll.

A report by the Centre for Retail Research, reveals 119,405 jobs across the UK’s shopping destinations, while 10,494 stores were closed.

However, this was an improvement on 2022, when 151,641 retail jobs were cut and 17,151 stores closed permanently, the worst year for closures since 2008.

The report said many of the job losses were the result of company reorganisation and cost-cutting programmes rather than actual business failures, although both figured on the list.

Chains such as New Look and Asda cut jobs while some that failed included Paperchase and M&Co.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the CRR, said the slowdown in retail job losses last year should be viewed as a trend that is “less bad” rather than good, and “does not reflect any real strength in the sector.”

He cited the cost-of-living crisis, inflation and increases in interest rates making consumers tighten their belts, reducing retail spend.

Retailers also saw higher energy and rent costs, staff shortages and falling demand that have made rebuilding profits after extensive store closures during the pandemic very difficult.

He added that there’s unlikely to be any slowdown in retail job losses this year based ob current trends.

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