High street job losses mount with Homebase next in line for closures

Analysis by New Economics Foundation says lost jobs are a £1.5bn cost to GDP

The DIY chain Homebase is expected to reveal the closure of up to 80 stores this week as job losses from Britain’s high streets total more than 30,000.

Homebase is battling for survival amid a slowdown in the housing market as well as rising costs and increasing pressure from online rivals and discounters such as B&M.

It wants to exit loss-making stores and agree to rent cuts ahead of a rent bill due in late September.

The closures will add to the mountain of job losses on Britain’s high streets. About 25,000 jobs have gone in the first seven months of 2018, according to analysis by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), with a further 8,300 jobs under threat at suppliers.

The figures, which include those at risk of imminent redundancy as well as workers who have already lost their jobs, adds up to £1.5bn in lost GDP, said NEF’s report.

At the weekend, seven Marks & Spencer clothing stores closed their doors for the last time as the high-street chain pushes ahead with a transformation plan.

M&S said in May it plans to close 100 stores by 2022.

Toys R Us, Poundworld and Maplin have collapsed, while New Look, Mothercare, Marks & Spencer and Carpetright have disclosed plans to close hundreds of stores as weak consumer confidence is compounded by the online shopping boom.

Alfie Stirling, head of economics at the NEF, said: “The shape of our economy is beginning to flex and buckle in response to powerful structural forces such as weakening household spending power and a shift in consumer behaviour towards online purchasing.”

Meanwhile, House of Fraser employees and pensioners are nervously awaiting more details about their future. The £90m rescue deal by Sports Direct, the sportswear chain controlled by Mike Ashley, will protect 16,000 jobs for the time being.

Contributor

Patrick Collinson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Women bear the brunt of high street closures and job losses
In 2019 the number of retail jobs held by women fell by 3.4% but for men it was down only 0.2%

Jasper Jolly

26, Apr, 2019 @12:21 PM

Article image
Homebase cuts 300 jobs as more store closures loom
Third of head office roles axed as new owners reportedly consider closing up to 80 stores

Sarah Butler and Zoe Wood

28, Jun, 2018 @12:25 PM

Article image
British high street lost 11,000 shops in 2020, study shows
Independent shops and villages fared far better than chains and city centres but study fears full Covid impact yet to come

Sarah Butler

24, Mar, 2021 @12:01 AM

Article image
Why UK high street retailers want urgent reform of business rates
Lobby groups say way rates are calculated and paid hurting most those it aims to help most

Zoe Wood

06, Mar, 2020 @4:14 PM

Article image
Next warns of unprecedented high street crisis over coronavirus
UK retailers, bus companies, publishers and cinema chains issue warnings as sales take hit

Zoe Wood, Sarah Butler and Julia Kollewe

19, Mar, 2020 @10:34 AM

Article image
British retailers say closures and job losses still a risk despite lockdown easing
Trade body urges government to deliver on promise to reform business rates to protect sector

Larry Elliott Economics editor

10, May, 2021 @11:01 PM

Article image
Homebase rescued from collapse but 1,500 jobs to go
Creditors approve CVA that entails 42 branch closures and landlords taking 90% rent cuts

Rob Davies

31, Aug, 2018 @2:34 PM

Article image
High street crisis deepens as 3,150 staff lose jobs in a week
Fifteen Links of London outlets join all 79 Mothercare stores to close this week

Sarah Butler and Zoe Wood

07, Jan, 2020 @7:31 PM

Article image
Debenhams ready to cut 2,500 jobs in new blow to high street
Beleaguered retailer says trading remains slow after reopening 124 stores

Sarah Butler

11, Aug, 2020 @11:03 AM

Article image
Marks & Spencer closes 17 more stores in new blow to high street
M&S outlets in Bedford, Hull, Huddersfield and Rotherham among those to be axed with 1,000 jobs at risk

Zoe Wood

15, Jan, 2019 @5:56 PM