Britain loses nearly 90,000 retail jobs as shoppers go online

Britain loses nearly 90,000 retail jobs in a year as high street stores struggle with online shopping and bigger business rates

  • Tens of thousands of retail jobs have now been axed after online shopping boom 
  • The British Retail Consortium found 89,600 workers were sacked in 12 months
  • Among the famous stories impacted are House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer 

Britain has lost nearly 90,000 retail jobs in the past year, a survey has revealed.

The 12 months ahead look just as bleak, with 19 per cent of firms planning to axe more staff against 15 per cent in 2017.

Online shopping and high business rates are blamed for the decline uncovered in the British Retail Consortium study.

This showed that the nation’s stores laid off 2.8 per cent of their combined workforce in the year to June, meaning an estimated 89,600 workers were sacked.

Among household names affected are Marks & Spencer, which is to shut 100 stores over the next four years, and House of Fraser, which plans to axe 31 shops.

Among the stores impacted byjob losses are Marks & Spencer (pictured) and House of Fraser

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Britain’s new love for online shopping has been accused of sparking the downfall of shops which are now being forced to lay off staff

Both blame punishing business rates for making their troubles worse and campaigners say urgent reform is needed to level the playing field.

Chancellor Philip Hammond angered retailers earlier this month by ruling out any changes in the short term. 

Mike Cherry of the Federation of Small Businesses said: ‘Business rates are an outdated and regressive tax which unfairly hits high street retailers. It hits small firms before they’ve had the chance to make their first pound in turnover, let alone profit. It’s high time for reform.’

Labour MP Wes Streeting urged the Chancellor to think again. He said: ‘With almost 100,000 job losses and more and more high streets resembling ghost towns, it’s time for the Government to accept that business rates are doing real damage to local communities.’

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