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High street retailers to face ongoing challenges in 2020

30 December 2019 - 10:09 by Mike Price

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A report from the Centre for Retail Research suggests that next year will be tough for bricks and mortar retailers, with more job losses expected and a number of other obstacles set to complicate matters for high street stores.

It is not just that more and more people are carrying out safe shopping online rather than visiting real world outlets, as analysts pointed out that the muted growth in spending seen over the past half-decade has hit all areas of the retail sector.

High business rates are also identified as being a key cause of the uphill battle that retailers with physical outlets are having to face at the moment, with this alone being cited as a major catalyst for store closures, as well as the folding of a few high profile brands in recent years.

2019 saw 140,000 people lost their jobs in retail, equating to a daily tally of 2,750. This is a trend that analysts fear will continue in the next 12 months, especially if there are more wholesale closures of chains.

Around half of the jobs lost last year were down to efforts made by retailers looking to cut costs, which shows just how narrow profit margins have become on the high street.

Meanwhile over 16,000 stores closed their doors for the final time in 2019, up from the 14,500 which shut the year prior.

In total, the impact of online shopping on the high street has been measured over the entirety of the decade in a new study from the RSA Future Work Centre, according to the Guardian. It equates to around 289,000 job losses, which is actually comparatively small in the context of such a long expanse of time, pointing to other factors having more impact on the industry.