One in 10 East Riding workers are employed in struggling retail sector

Around one in every 10 workers in the East Riding has a job in the struggling retail sector.

Friday, 14th August 2020, 8:15 am
Figures show 12,500 people were employed in retail jobs across the East Riding in 2018. Photo: PA Images

Swathes of high street stores have announced job cuts and shop closures nationally due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, which has seen the UK fall into the largest recession on record.

Trade association the British Retail Consortium warned some retailers are “hanging by a thread” due to plummeting sales in lockdown.

Office for National Statistics data reveals 12,500 people were employed in retail jobs in the East Riding in 2018 – the most recent period with available data.

It meant retail made up 10% of all employment in the area two years ago, with 4,230 jobs based in shops in the area’s main high streets.

The ONS defines a high street as a named street with a cluster of 15 or more shops.

Despite the struggles faced by retail businesses before the pandemic arrived, the East Riding saw a boost to retail employment between 2015 and 2018, with the number of jobs rising by 5%.

It was a different picture across the rest of Great Britain, where two-thirds of local authorities saw retail job losses over the three years.

Retailers have been battling the rise of online shopping, with the decline of physical shopping in high streets fuelled by the closure of stores during lockdown.

ONS figures show the economy plunged by a record-breaking 20.4% between April and June, the period covering the height of lockdown, when non-essential shops were forced to shut.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said although there was a growth in retail sales over June and July as businesses reopened following lockdown, many shops “continue to struggle” with a decline in footfall, with many people still reluctant to head to the shops.

A Government spokesperson said: “We understand the challenges faced by the hospitality industry and the high street.

“That’s why we’ve taken unprecedented and targeted action with our Plan for Jobs to support people and businesses through the pandemic.”