Scottish retail loses 16,000 jobs in seven years

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Around 16,000 jobs have been lost in Scottish retail over the past seven years, according to a new report from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC).

The SRC analysed changes in job numbers, shops and retail turnover between 2008 and 2015 using Scottish government data.

The research found 16,000 jobs were lost across Scotland, with Falkirk being the worst hit, losing 27.7 per cent of its workforce, while Inverclyde lost a quarter.

Just five out of 32 local authorities reported an increase, with Midlothian and East Dunbartonshire bucking the trend, rising 14.71 per cent and 2.78 per cent respectively.

The Scottish Retail Consortium has called on local and national government to take rapid action to stem any further job losses.

“This analysis demonstrates how retail change is affecting the whole of Scotland, but in very different ways,” SRC head of policy Ewan MacDonald-Russell said.

“For some communities this is leading to new opportunities; with investment in new jobs, more productive and interesting work, and different business models.

“However, we should not be blind to the serious repercussions these changes can have for local communities.

“We are seeing shop closures and job losses which will reduce retail involvement in some town centres.”

The SRC found some correlation between falling shop numbers and a reduction in retail employment, with Falkirk having the highest reduction in shop numbers at 15.24 per cent and Inverclyde shortly behind at 14 per cent.

The average drop in shop jobs across Scotland was 6.3 per cent, with Edinburgh and Aberdeen coming in above the rate, but Dundee and Glasgow falling below.

MacDonald-Russell added that it was “inevitable” that shop closures and job losses will reduce retail activity in town centres, and that it was down to government and local authorities to manage the changes facing the Scottish retail environment.

“They have the power to influence the pace of change, buying time for new investment and developments, but only if the scale of this transformation is recognised, and swift and coordinated action taken,” he said.

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