High street job losses expected to total 30,000

BASINGSTOKE, UK - JULY 20, 2016: Entrance and car park of the HomeBase DIY home improvement store.

High street job losses for 2018 have now reached over 30,000 as Homebase is expected to announce the closure of up to 80 stores this week.

The DIY chain is expected to announce the closures and exit loss-making stores following intense competition from rivals as well as the rising costs.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) released data showing that for the first seven months of 2018, the UK high street has seen over 25,000 job losses with a further 8,500 under threat.

“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,” said Alfie Stirling, the head of economics at the NEF.

Homebase is not the only retailer that is struggling. Marks & Spencers (LON: MKS) closed seven clothing stores over the weekend and plans to close 100 stores by 2022. 

“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S,” said Sacha Berendji, the group’sretail, operations and property director. “Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores … which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”

This year has also seen the collapse of Toys R Us, Poundworld and Maplin.

Carpetright (LON: CPR), New Look, Mothercare (LON: MTC) have all revealed plans to close stores due to the weak consumer confidence.

The future of House of Fraser is also unclear. The group is currently protected by Sports Direct’s (LON: SPD) Mike Ashley’s £90 million rescue deal, which is protecting the retailer’s 16,000 employees. 

My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the high street,” said Ashley.