More than 164,000 retail jobs will be lost in 2019, the Centre for Retail Research has warned.
The body has predicted a “worsening of conditions” next year and cautioned that it expects “a number of major retail chains to hit the buffers in 2019”.
The Centre for Retail Research forecasts 164,100 job losses across retail next year – half of which will come from independent businesses – as well as 22,100 store closures.
Some 102,000 of the retail jobs lost are expected to come through administrations or liquidations – a warning that comes just days after HMV tumbled into administration for the second time in six years.
A further 53,100 roles could be lost through CVA processes, while “rationalisation” of retail portfolios next year will see a further 8,500 jobs lost, pushing the total past 164,000.
The figures would represent an acceleration from the 137,700 retail job losses and 18,443 store closures during 2018, which were sparked by the likes of Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld going bust, while New Look and Carpetright were among a string of retailers that launched CVAs to streamline their portfolios and slash rents.
Professor Joshua Bamfield from the Centre for Retail Research said: “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.”
Bamfield 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.”