- Huw Hughes
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
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