The Centre for Retail Research has estimated that nearly 177,000 high street jobs have been lost in the past 12 months.

In its ‘The Crisis in Retailing: Closures and Job Losses’ report, it also predicted that things will not improve just yet, with the first half of 2021 expected to look “much like 2020, only worse”.

It continued: “We expect there to be 200,000 job losses in the sector [in 2021] and a lot more bad news about corporate failures.”

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The pandemic has only compounded the already struggling bricks-and-mortar retail sector, with high costs, low profitability and the loss of business to online retailers all to blame.

On top of the 176,718 job losses in 2020, store closures also peaked at 15,747.

On the negative effects of the pandemic on shopping in person, the report revealed: “It has been a hammer blow against the sector, which has particularly disadvantaged most non-food stores.

“Shopping in high streets and malls has become less pleasant.

“Hygiene and social-distancing rules and the frequent closure or restriction upon hospitality have made a day out shopping impossible for part of the year and an obstacle course even when shops are open.”