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High Street shops closing in record numbers

Britain's retailers have faced yet more gloomy predictions today with up to half of major High Street stores planning to cut staff, according to a new survey.

The grim outlook comes in the wake of a series of famous names going under, like Jessops, Blockbuster and HMV.

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports from Warrington:


Employment Minister: 'The high street is changing'

Around 50 per cent of retailers will shed jobs in the first quarter of 2013, according to research by the British Retail Consortium.

Speaking to ITV Daybreak, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said that the overall employment figures are good, and that jobs are being created.

He added that the high street is changing and job descriptions will change too.

Government 'offering practical support' to High Street

High streets are facing challenges such as the rise of internet shopping, which is why the Government is offering practical support. That's why we've doubled the amount of small business rate relief and extended it for a year to help up to half a million new and smaller shops.

For budding entrepreneurs, we're providing over £80 million of start-up loans for young people starting their own businesses.

– A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman


Retail employment rise 'is a shaft of light' in 'challenging' times

The fact that total employment edged up during this quarter, driven by part-time workers, is a shaft of light against an otherwise challenging backdrop.

It shows that, despite relentlessly tough times, retailers are continuing to invest in people and support job creation as much as they can.

But the record drop in store numbers is stark evidence that this investment should not be taken for granted. We're by no means out of the woods yet, and given the administrations of recent weeks, the next quarter's figures are likely to make difficult reading.

– Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium

Half of retailers planning to cut staff

Around 50 per cent of retailers said they planned to cut staffing levels in the next few months, with only 4% expecting to create jobs, according to a new survey.

A general view of closed down shops in Croydon, Greater London. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive

There were also almost 600 fewer shops last month even before the recent collapse of a raft of High Street names, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

However, employment in the retail sector rose by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, driven entirely by part-time workers, the study found.

The survey, covering 1.3 million workers at 25 major retailers, showed that Christmas was not a disaster for traders, but staffing levels were kept "modest".

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