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Surge in online sales leads to high street job losses

17 September 2018 - 14:40 by Graham Miller

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A study commissioned by the Labour party has found that around 100,000 jobs in the retail sector have disappeared over the past three years, with the popularity of safe shopping online once again singled out as a major factor.

The Sun reports that in 2017 there were 1800 store closures in towns and cities across the UK, with recent reports of mainstream retail chains suffering financial issues raising the likelihood of this figure rising in 2018.

Report spokesperson Rebecca Long Bailey said that it was important for the government to take action in order to support high streets and ensure that town centres nationwide were still vibrant places for people to spend time, rather than being littered with empty outlets after stores have been forced out of business.

Of course the report does not take into account the fact that tens of thousands of jobs have been created as a result of the rise in safe shopping online, with top flight sites like Amazon responsible for taking up a lot of the slack.

It is not just administrative staff and distribution centre workers that are required in large numbers to help run the biggest e-commerce outlets, but also delivery drivers and other employees involved in getting packages out to consumers that are becoming increasingly common.

Clearly the high street is in a crisis because online shopping is cheaper and more convenient, but the web still accounts for around a fifth of the total retail sector in the UK in terms of sales. Its hold over the market may be growing, but it is still in a distant second place to bricks and mortar retail.

Improving the in-store experience and embracing a more digital-friendly approach will help high street chains to compete in this tricky environment.