9 April 2018 - Janet Bird
The first three months of 2018 have seen a staggering 21,413 jobs lost in the retail sector, new research has shown.
Data compiled by the Press Association revealed that January to March was the bleakest financial quarter for retail job losses since the height of the financial crash.
A 'perfect storm' of economic circumstances has been blamed for the astounding scale of redundancies.
The devaluation of sterling which followed the Brexit referendum has caused a surge in the price of imports, but has also reduced consumers' spending power.
At the same time, many high street retailers have struggled to compete with online giants such as Amazon, leading to the collapse of a number of well known names - including Toys R Us and Maplins.
Off licence owner Conviviality announced at the end of March that it was calling in administrators, putting thousands of jobs at risk, and the future of staff working for footwear brand Nine West, which trades from three locations in the UK and is stocked by Debenhams, Selfridges and House of Fraser, was also thrown into uncertainty when the brand's US owner - Nine West Holdings - filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.
High street stalwart Mothercare is also reputed to be considering store closures as it seeks to turnaround its ailing brand.