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UK retailers have 'cut 10,000 jobs already this year'

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Shoppers pass a sale sign in the window of H&M on Princes Street, Edinburgh, during the Boxing Day sales.

UK retailers have slashed almost 10,000 jobs already this year, according to new research.

Analysis by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) suggests retail firms have cut 9,949 jobs over the past few weeks.

Two leading supermarkets have announced cuts in the past week alone. Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) has said “hundreds” of office roles will be axed as teams are merged with Argos, which it bought in 2016.

Morrisons then confirmed a far bigger cull of 3,000 management jobs last Thursday, with roles running departments such as alcohol cut back.

But Morrisons said the cuts were part of a wider shakeup that could create 7,000 new roles in stores, including both store assistants and fresh food specialists such as butchers and bakers.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s and Argos to slash ‘hundreds’ of office jobs

The CRR highlighted recent job losses and closures at department store Debenhams, maternity retailer Mothercare and supermarket Asda.

The department store Beales also collapsed into administration last week, putting at least 1,200 more jobs at risk.

2019 proved a particularly challenging year for retail, despite rising employment in Britain overall. The shift to online shopping was widely blamed for the decline of bricks-and-mortar stores and high street job losses.

READ MORE: Worst year for retail jobs in a quarter of a century

The CRR said last year saw more than 140,000 jobs axed on high streets, the highest rate of decline in a quarter of a century.

Joshua Bamfield, a director at the CRR, predicted at the end of last year closures would increase by around 9% to more than 17,500 in 2020.

“The commercial pressures of higher labour costs, business rates and relatively weak demand will continue to undercut profits and force the weakest companies to close stores or enter administration.

“In 2020 further announcements from companies that have already gone through CVAs or administration may well result in cutbacks on their existing operations,” he warned in December.