High street footfall has dropped by 65 per cent and could lead to 250,000 jobs being axed by struggling retailers.
Most high street shops across England and Northern Ireland were given the green light to reopen on June 15 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But many customers have chosen to stay indoors and make their purchases from the safety of their homes – sending online shopping figures soaring.
High street footfall has dropped by 65 per cent and could lead to 250,000 jobs being axed by struggling retailers
Retail footfall has dropped by 65 per cent when compared with figures from June last year, according to research by data company Springboard – seen by The Guardian.
The worst drop in footfall was found in central London, which saw a whopping 81 per cent less shoppers in June than in the same month last year.
And desperate retailers have already started cutting thousands of jobs because of a dramatic loss in high street shoppers.
A graphic, pictured, demonstrates the extent of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the UK economy
Retail footfall has dropped by 65 per cent when compared with figures from June last year, according to research by data company Springboard
John Lewis and Boots axed 5,300 jobs and announced permanent store closures last week.
Some 612,000 jobs have already been lost across the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the number of people on benefits has skyrocketed by 1.6million to 2.8million.
Experts have warned that the slew of store closures at John Lewis and Boots are ‘just the start’.
Britain’s furlough bill soared past £25billion this week with more than 12 million jobs now being propped up by the state, new figures revealed today
John Lewis and Boots axed 5,300 jobs and announced permanent store closures last week
Industry insiders are monitoring Top Shop, New Look, Arcadia, Monsoon and Poundstretcher for similar announcements.
Retail expert Richard Hyman told the Sun: ‘If you think there are 9.5million people on furlough, 250,000 redundancies is quite a reasonable number.
‘Pre-pandemic online sales accounted for 30 per cent of non-food sales. That will rise to 40 per cent, which means hundreds of thousands of job losses.
‘Lockdown has been the catalyst, not the cause. Big firms like John Lewis have needed to shut stores for years.
‘Fifteen years ago online shopping wasn’t really used, now it’s worth £70billion. But in that time they have still opened more stores. It’s not sustainable.’
Britain’s jobs bloodbath gathered pace last week as more than 60,000 workers were axed or faced redundancy.
It was an immediate blow for Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who launched his desperate £30billion package to help keep people off the dole.
Weekly sales: John Lewis Partnership weekly sales figures over the last year, provided by MarketLine
Gross sales: John Lewis Partnership gross sales since 2009
On the slide: John Lewis Partnership bonus payments through time
Some 612,000 jobs have already been lost across the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the number of people on benefits has skyrocketed by 1.6million to 2.8million
His mini-Budget included a £1,000 ‘jobs retention bonus’ for business who bring workers back off furlough, and half-price meals out funded by the government.
A grim-faced Chancellor conceded he could not protect all workers, and the UK was on track for a ‘severe’ recession.
Unite chief Len McLuskey said Mr Sunak had ‘failed’ to prevent more redundancies on Britain’s struggling high streets.
And retail is not the only sector which is still battling to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Hospitality chain The Restaurant Group, which owns Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s, has already announced that it will keep one in 10 of its restaurants and pubs closed this year.
Experts have warned that the slew of store closures at John Lewis and Boots are ‘just the start’
The Springboard figures have shown that overall footfall, including high streets, shopping centres and retail parks fell by 57 per cent year-on-year in June.
How many jobs are at risk across the UK?
- Accenture – 900
- Airbus – 1,700
- Arcadia – 500
- BA – 12,000
- Beales – 1,052
- Bentley – 1,000
- Burger King – 1,600
- Casual Dining Group (Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas) – 1,900
- DHL at Jaguar Land Rover – 2,200
- EasyJet – 4,500
- Go Outdoors – 2,400
- Harrods – 700
- Harveys – 240
- Links – 350
- Mothercare – 2,500
- Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
- P&O Ferries – 1,100
- Pret a Manger – 1,330
- Ryanair – 3,000
- SSP Group (Upper Crust, Caffe Ritazza) – 5,000
- Ted Baker – 160
- TM Lewin – 600
- Tui – 8,000
- Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk
Retail parks have suffered the least as footfall was just 32 per cent lower year-on-year in June.
But footfall in shopping centres declined by 62 per cent.
Retail parks are generally comprised of food and homeware stores which stayed open throughout lockdown and are in general more spacious and therefore appealing to shoppers.
Non-essential shops reopening in mid-June marked a turning point, according to Springboard.
Some customers rushed back to shops in England and norther Ireland in the first week of reopening (seeing a spike in footfall that was 6.6 per cent higher year-on-year).
But the demand did not last and footfall slowed considerably over the following two weeks.
Springboard insights director, Diane Wehrle, said that lengthy queues, limited customer numbers and closed changing rooms, could have contributed to the sudden drop.
She said: ‘This is concerning for the economic recovery path of bricks-and-mortar retail who are heavily reliant on customer experience’.
High street shops rely on customers from all walks of life – workers, students, tourists and locals.
But because of government advice to only use public transport where essential, people are less likely to travel to the shops.
A clear example is seen in central London, which usually has the highest footfall of high street shops in the UK but was found to be 81 per cent lower than in June last year.
Statistics also revealed that the total on company payrolls had slumped by more than 600,000.
The number claiming either Jobseekers’ Allowance or Universal Credit more than doubled between March and May – rising by 1.6million to 2.8million, the Office for National Statistics said.
The Springboard figures have shown that overall footfall, including high streets, shopping centres and retail parks fell by 57 per cent year-on-year in June
The worst drop in footfall was found in central London, which saw a whopping 81 per cent less shoppers in June than in the same month last year
The rush for support eclipsed that seen during the first year of the Great Depression, the Institute for Employment Studies warned.
Latest figures show 9.1million jobs have been furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme, at a cost of £20.8billion so far.
HM Revenue & Customs also revealed that 2.6million self-employed workers are receiving support under a separate scheme which has cost £7.6billion.
It means in total the incomes of 11.7million workers – more than 40 per cent of the private sector workforce – are being paid by the state.
Figures reveal scale of Covid business loans
Figures released on Tuesday by the Treasury and HMRC show one extent of the Government’s massive spending spree to help sure up a faltering economy hit by the coronavirus crisis.
As ministers ordered Britons to stay at home unless they had to shop for food in March, Rishi Sunak promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support the companies whose business would be decimated by the decision.
It meant launching three Government-backed loans, the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), a similar scheme for larger businesses called CLBILS, and the bounce-back loans, which help out some of the smallest companies.
Data for last week, released Tuesday, again shows that the bounce-back loans have proved the most popular.
Close to 1.2million businesses have applied for the loans of up to £50,000.
So far a little under 970,000 have been approved and handed £29.5billion.
Meanwhile, 105,000 companies have applied for a CBILS loan, 52,000 have been approved, and £11.1billion has been paid out. Out of the 745 applicants for CLBILS, 359 have been approved for loans worth £2.3 billion.
The Government also revealed that 1.1 million businesses have furloughed 9.3 million workers, claiming £25.5 billion to cover a portion of their salaries while they cannot work.
The costly programmes were launched to see Britain through the worst of lockdown, but the Government will hope that these can be eased.
The Treasury has already said that companies will have to shoulder some of the burden for paying their furloughed workers from August, before the programme is phased out.
The deadline for new applications to the scheme was set at June 30.
It comes as the economy is preparing to return to some semblance of normality. On Saturday, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 23.
John Lewis & Partners
Here’s how John Lewis & Partners has fared on the financial front in the last few years. This relates to John Lewis’ performance and excludes Waitrose:
- Gross sales: £4.43bn
- Like for-like sales: +6.5%
- Operating profit: £250.5m
- Gross sales: £4.56bn
- LFL sales: +3.1%
- Operating profit £250.2m
- Gross sales £4.74bn
- LFL sales: +2.7%
- Operating profit £231.4m
- Gross sales £4.86bn
- LFL sales: +0.4%
- Operating profit: £232.9m
- Gross sales: £4.89bn
- LFL sales: +1.4%
- Operating profit £114.7m