More than 158,000 jobs in UK retail have been lost so far this year, new data revealed on Monday as the future of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group looked uncertain.
Staff at Topshop and Burton owner Arcadia Group were today waiting to hear if a rescue deal could be agreed for the company.
The firm, which employs around 13000 people, is understood to be preparing to appoint administrators from Deloitte as soon as today, after talks with lenders about a £30 million loan ended without success.
Retail tycoon Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group today said it has offered Arcadia Group a £50 million loan, and it is “awaiting a substantive response”.
Elsewhere talks about a rescue takeover of Debenhams, which has some 12000 staff and fell into administration earlier this year, are understood to be ongoing. JD Sports has been looking at the business.
Retailers have been hammered this year by lockdowns, adding to existing headaches high street firms were facing, such as increasing competition online.
Data from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) compiled for the Evening Standard, calculates 158,064 UK retail jobs were lost between January and November 29.
These figures do not include Arcadia which continues to trade.
CRR’s figures look at a range of reasons for job losses this year, such as companies going into administration and closing stores via a Company Voluntary Arrangement restructuring model.
A number of firms have also reduced employee numbers as part of rationalisation programmes.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director Centre for Retail Research, said: “Retail was already in trouble before Covid, but the first lockdown was a hammer blow for the sector that deprived many viable businesses of revenue for three months.”
He added that the second lockdown has accentuated the problems of many retailers.
Non-essential retailers in England had to close sites for most of November and can only reopen them from later this week.