The coronavirus has left the retail industry spinning. Facing troubles of getting people back into stores while significant numbers of consumers move to online shopping, many of Britain’s retailers have to make cuts to their workforce in order to survive.
Since the lockdown has ended and restrictions eased across the country, the number of people heading to the high street or shopping centre has dropped considerably, resulting in a drop of up to a third compared to before the pandemic. Many prefer to sit at home in their operator chair and shop online. The rise in unemployment has also contributed to the decrease in people willing to part with their money.
The Bank of England has also predicted that unemployment may hit 7.5% because of the coronavirus. River Island, M&S, Boots and John Lewis are just some of the retailers who have announced job cuts. M&S alone will have to axe up to 7,000 workers. It is not just the retail industry that has been affected; the hospitality industry has also seen a significant drop in numbers, despite the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The design of this government scheme is to boost numbers going to restaurants and bars by giving customers 50% off meals and non-alcoholic beverages, up to £10 per person throughout August. However, the scheme only applies to Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, leaving the others days still short of customers compared to average attendance before the pandemic.
With the furlough scheme ending in October, there are fears that more retail jobs could be lost. Offices continue to open up and workers return to their operator chair, and there are hopes that local independent businesses will reap the benefit. Many businesses have become remote as more and more people opt to work from home. Anyone who works behind a desk knows the importance of a workspace, so you might want to select the perfect operator chair to make sure that remote working does not cause any discomfort.
There have been calls for coronavirus business grant schemes to be used to provide funding for local areas to support hospitality and retail businesses to ensure they do not go under, resulting in more unemployment. The future of the retail industry is shaky right now, but the scale of losses must not be seen as inevitable.