Wilko raises High Street job losses to 100,000
- The figures highlight the magnitude of the crisis that has affected the industry since Covid
- Debenhams and Philip Green’s Arcadia empire among high-profile victims
- Wilko could definitively lose up to 12,500 jobs
The demise of Wilko looks set to bring the number of jobs lost in the British High Street collapse since 2020 to more than 100,000.
Figures from the Center for Retail Research (CRR) highlight the magnitude of the crisis that has affected the industry since the pandemic.
Debenhams and Philip Green’s Arcadia empire – which included Topshop – were among the high-profile victims.
In Wilko, up to 12,500 jobs could be permanently lost. Although rivals B&M and Poundland have bought a total of 122 stores, staff are unsure what will happen. The Range bought Wilko’s brand and website, but only saved 36 jobs in the digital team.
All 398 Wilko stores will have closed next month in the biggest retail failure since Woolworths in 2008. CRR data shows more than 17,000 jobs have been lost at large and medium-sized retailers this year so far, including some already closed. They were manufactured in Wilko. .
Disappearance: Wilko could definitively lose up to 12,500 jobs
These are jobs that actually disappeared, not those that were lost before another company stepped in and hired the workers.
In 2022, some 6,732 retail jobs were lost, while in 2021 this figure was 24,179. In 2020, there were 53,364 when the side effects of the pandemic began.
This means more than 101,000 people have lost their jobs since 2020, including Wilko staff who have been made redundant or are about to be made redundant.
Other big job losses came at Arcadia (13,000) and Debenhams (18,500), both in 2020. Last year, fashion brand Joules laid off 133 staff after it was bought by Next, while fast fashion brand Missguided lost 330 jobs. .
Third parties have wanted to save collapsed retailers’ intellectual property and online brands, but not their physical stores.
Susannah Streeter, of Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Retailers need to focus clearly on what customers want and the size of their wallets.” But she added that it’s not just a matter of physical retail losing out to e-commerce,
“Primark has the right product at the right price and knows how to use social media to create that fear of missing out effect that makes people visit their stores,” he said.
“But we cannot escape online competition either, stores have to be agile.”
He said Next and Marks & Spencer have created a harmony between their online offerings and their physical stores.