400,000 jobs could be lost from English high streets post-Covid

Some 400,000 jobs could be lost across England’s high streets post-Covid as an acceleration of online shopping and new work-from-home habits are expected to drive down footfall, new research suggests.

According to a report by KPMG, a drop in commuter flow in England could range from over a tenth to under a third of commuter footfall seen pre-Covid as many companies plan to permanently extend their home-working policies.

In Hemel Hempstead and Bracknell, for example, up to 27.4 percent of office work is expected to be performed from home post-Covid.

The report, which examined 109 cities and towns across England, found that alongside the reduction in commuter footfall, consumers’ increased shift to online shopping will also impact in-store jobs.

High streets could lose between 20-40 percent of their retail offerings as a result of new shopping habits, according to KPMG. That could affect between 1-5 percent of the local workforce, potentially resulting in over 400,000 job losses.

The report also suggests that bigger cities are better suited to adapt to the changes than smaller ones as they provide a larger and more varied cultural offering to visitors.

“As people travel less for work or to shop, town and city centres will need alternative offerings to fill vacant space and to attract people to the area as we hopefully leave the pandemic behind sometime this year,” Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, said in a statement.

“High streets will need to be reimagined as cultural and recreational hubs that will act as magnets for businesses and jobs able to transform less prosperous areas.”

Photo credit: FashionUnited


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