The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has reported that the rate of job losses in the year up to August have been the worst the country has seen in 11 years.
On top of this, the body predicted that worse is to come, with an even worse rise in unemployment expected in the year to September.
This is according to the according to the CBI’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey, which featured 63 retailers among its 128 respondents.
It also reported that only grocers, furniture & carpets, non-store and ‘other’ goods sales seeing year-on-year growth in retail sales.
Meanwhile, retail sales were found to be, on average, 27% lower than in the absence of a pandemic. This represents a significant improvement on the last time this question was asked in June (-79%).
Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, said: “The furlough scheme has proved effective at insulating workers and businesses in some of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic, but these findings reinforce fears that many job losses have been delayed rather that avoided.
“Indeed, the latest survey shows that trading conditions for the retail sector remain tough, even against the backdrop of business slowly returning. Firms will be wary of deteriorating household incomes and the risk of further local lockdowns potentially hitting them in the pocket for a second time.
“As a result, further support may well be needed for the retail sector if demand continues to disappoint. Extending business rates relief will go a long way towards alleviating pressure on retailers’ cash flow.”
CBI concluded by saying that, despite the “gloomy” outlook, retailers are expecting improvements in the coming quarter.