The travails of the retail sector has unfortunately been a long-running story but figures showing that 10,000 jobs have been lost in the few weeks since the start of 2020 truly highlights the extent of the crisis on the High Street.
Debenhams, Mothercare, HMV and Yorkshire-based supermarkets Morrisons and Asda are among the big-name brands to have either announced redundancy plans, store closures or a combination of both.
The extent of the job losses seen in retail in the last few weeks would be almost certain to provoke Government action in any other industry.
While it is clearly not feasible for the state to bail out every struggling private company, action on issues like business rates which currently hobble physical stores compared to their online counterparts, should now be a matter of urgency.
Equally, support in helping local authorities to make their town and cities more attractive and welcoming places for shoppers to visit is desperately required.
Forecasts by the Office for National Statistics predict 65 per cent of all retail cashiers and checkout operator jobs will become redundant in future as the arrival of 5G wireless technology heralds “cashier-less retail” in many companies.
But a small note of hope has been offered by a survey of retail property owners suggesting that change could result in store personnel being shifted towards different roles such as assisting customers.
There is no doubt retail companies and their workers need to adapt to survive in a rapidly-changing world. But they must be given a helping hand by those in power.