All the retailers that have made job cuts amid Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many retailers to permanently shutter stores and the job cuts that have come with them aim to help them stay afloat during the crisis. We've listed all the retailers that have announced job cuts so far, since lockdown.

Since non-essential retailers were forced to close stores at the begging of the year due to lockdown, many have now been forced to permanently shutter stores due to consumers shifting online and slow recoveries in footfall.

According to figures compiled by the PA news agency, the retail bloodbath has claimed or put under threat at least 41,400 UK jobs since the lockdown in late March.

Meanwhile, data from the Centre for Retail Research published in July revealed that at least 24,348 jobs have already been lost across insolvent UK retailers this year alone.

The coronavirus crisis has sparked a swathe of shop closures, administrations, CVAs and general restructures, as consumer uncertainty has taken its toll while online shopping has enjoyed a dramatic spike in sales.

Here is a list of all the retailers who have made job cuts since the start of the lockdown.

1. Harveys

At the end of June, furniture retailer Harveys collapsed into administration with the immediate loss of 240 jobs, while more than 1300 others were at risk.

Roughly 50 stores have permanently closed following the deal, leaving between 150 and 175 stores remaining open that operate under sister brand Bensons for Beds.

The owner of Bensons for Beds, Blue Group, saved almost 2000 jobs with its new restructuring plan, but left 1000 jobs at risk.

Harveys Bensons for beds administration collapse covid-19 lockdown reopening Steinhoff International PwC

2. Jack Wills

Jack Wills was perhaps the first major fashion retailer to have announced a raft of store closures just as the UK entered nationwide lockdown in late March.

On March 26, three days after Boris Johnson announced the lockdown for non-essential retail, Jack Wills shut down a further 17 of its stores.

This was in addition to the nine store closures it announced the week prior.

The retailer, owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, had been bought out of administration in August last year.

In the space of a year, 50 Jack Wills stores have shut, resulting in hundreds of job cuts.

Jack Wills store closures Frasers Group

3. Arcadia Group

In July, Arcadia confirmed plans to scrap 500 head office jobs in an effort to reduce costs following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fashion group informed staff that the restructuring would affect around 500 of its 2500-strong head office workforce.

The parent company of Topshop and Dorothy Perkins is also reportedly on the verge of launching another restructure for the second time in just over a year, and put forward a cost-cutting plan to the Pensions Regulator.

Arcadia had already been reducing its vast store estate over the last years or so but chief executive Ian Grabiner said it needed to generate further cost savings and restructuring its head office was one of those initiatives.

Just over a year ago, Arcadia Group launched CVAs to seek rent cuts with landlords and shut scores of shops in the UK and the US, a move that affected hundreds of jobs.

jobs covid-19 lockdown pandemic

4. Laura Ashley

In March, Laura Ashley went into administration and closed down 70 stores, with 721 employees affected at the time.

Shortly after, the retailer was rescued from administration by global advisory, restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers, with the job cuts reduced to 268.

In June, a further 56 redundancies across its head office and back office functions were made.

It has now drafted in hired real estate advisers Avison Young to market its manufacturing and distribution facilities on behalf of joint administrators PwC.

Laura Ashley Avison Young

5. Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston is to permanently to shut all 60 of its UK stores, resulting in the loss of 908 jobs.

The retailer confirmed its British stores would not reopen after lockdown, after parent company Baring Private Equity Asia secured a pre-pack administration deal that saw it buy back Cath Kidston’s brand and online operations.

Only 32 of its 940 staff will see their jobs secured as part of the deal.

The move will result in the “cessation of the retail store network” and Cath Kidston will now only trade via online, wholesale and its overseas store network.

Confirmed: 900 job cuts as Cath Kidston permanently shuts all 60 UK stores

6. H&M Group

At the beginning of July H&M Group revealed plans to permanently shut down 170 stores across its global estate after accelerating closure strategy in the face of coronavirus.

It is not yet clear how many of those stores are part of the fashion giant’s UK store estate, nor how many jobs would be affected.

H&M Group, which operates Arket, Cos, Weekday, H&M Home and H&M itself, has a total of around 5000 stores worldwide.

H&M to permanently shut down 170 stores across Europe

7. Burberry

In July, Burberry revealed plans to make 500 job cuts through efforts to streamline UK office operations as well as changes across stores outside the UK after lockdown sent sales tumbling.

The luxury fashion retailer said around 150 office jobs are expected to go in the UK, where it is headquartered, and a further 350 overseas as it looks to slash annual costs by a further £55 million.

This comes on top of the previously announced £140 million cost savings, such as the decision to cancel dividends at the end of the last financial year and renegotiating rents, restricting recruitment, travel and other discretionary spend.

The cuts affect around five per cent of its overall 10,000 employees worldwide, including four per cent of its 3500 staff in the UK.

Burberry eyes job cuts as lockdowns cause sales plunge

8. John Lewis

Around 1300 jobs are at risk after the John Lewis said it would permanent shut down eight stores. These affected stores never reopened after lockdown was lifted in mid-June.

The department store chain said the affected stores were facing challenges prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The eight John Lewis stores confirmed for closure include the small travel hub shops at Heathrow and St Pancras, four At Home shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, and two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford.

Former & current John Lewis bosses clash over Birmingham closure

9. Monsoon Accessorize

Monsoon Accessorize went into administration in June, putting 230 stores and 2300 jobs at risk.

Founder Peter Simon immediately bought back the firm through his new business Adena Brands, resulting in an immediate loss of 545 jobs and 35 store closures.

Later that month, Simon told BBC Radio 4 that of the 100 stores that were planned for reopening after lockdown, only six to 10 of them will be Monsoon shops.

Eventually, the retailer revealed that 57 more stores than expected could be retained after a larger number of landlords than predicted agreed to base rent deals on turnover.

Monsoon Accessorize Peter Simon administration

10. Oak Furnitureland 

In July, Oak Furnitureland closed down 27 out of its 105 stores, leading to 163 job cuts.

The hardwood furniture retailer announced the restructuring plans just over a month after it was rescued from collapse via a pre-pack administration deal.

163 jobs at risk as Oak Furnitureland proposes 27 store closures

11. Boots

One of the biggest job cuts came from Boots, which announced plans to make more than 4000 redundancies in July to mitigate the “significant impact” of Covid-19. This equated to approximately seven per cent of its total UK workforce

The job cuts affect some deputy manager, assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles across its stores, as well as the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores.

The news came after retail sales plunged 48 per cent during its third quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite stores remaining open during lockdown as it was classified as an essential retailer.

The retailer added that the cuts represented an “acceleration” of its transformation plans to improve profitably across the business.

Boots to cut more than 4000 jobs

12. River Island

In August, River Island underwent another round of job cuts in just over a month, this time targeting 350 jobs across its shops.

The fashion retailer cut management and senior sales roles as part of a retail team restructure.

In July, River Island made 250 head office staff redundant as a cost-cutting measure after the coronavirus pandemic triggered a fall in sales and footfall.

350 job cuts at River Island amid store management shake-up

13. Antler

Antler slashed 164 jobs and permanently closed stores after crashing into administration during lockdown in May.

Since then the retailer has secured its future after finding a buyer to takeover its online operations and there is no indication its 18 standalone stores will reopen.

The joint administrations for the suitcase brand and retailer said they have concluded a sale of Antler’s brand, online retail business and assets to an ATR group company.

Antler's future secured as administrators find buyer for online store

14. TM Lewin 

In June, TM Lewin permanently closed its entire store estate, resulting in 600 job cuts.

The menswear retailer said it was struggling to pay rent on stores during lockdown, and while the administration led to the store closures, it continues to trade online.

TM Lewin said the pandemic forced it to “focus on a radical overhaul of the business model”.

TM Lewin Torque Brands

15. Clarks

In April, Clarks announced it would permanently close down “a small number” of its stores as the coronavirus crisis took its toll.

The following month, it announced plans to slash 900 office jobs as part of a major shake-up to revitalise the business.

This consisted of 160 immediate redundancies followed by another 700 in the next 18 months.

Clarks highlighted that this total reduction of 900 corporate roles in its global workforce will be partially balanced by the creation of around 200 new jobs.

The announcement was part of Clarks’ Made To Last” turnaround strategy.

Clarks store closures covid-19 Giorgio Presca pandemic

16. M&Co

At the beginning of August M&Co confirmed plans to permanently close down 47 stores and axe 380 jobs.

The move is part of a major restructuring via a pre-pack administration deal to secure its long-term future.

The Scottish fashion retailer will operate with 218 stores and 2200 employees after completing the restructuring.

The 380 redundancies, which were made with immediate effect, comprise of just over 325 shop floor staff and almost 55 employees in M&Co’s offices in London and Inchinnan, Glasgow.

M&Co confirms plans to shut 47 stores & cut 381 jobs

17. Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins announced 2500 redundancies through the closure of 165 stores back in June.

The company, which also owns DIY chains Toolstation and Wickes, said the store closures will mainly affect Travis Perkins sites.

The company added that the redundancies make up around nine per cent of its total workforce, with the store closures reducing its portfolio by eight per cent.

2500 jobs on the line as Travis Perkins shuts down 165 stores

18. Debenhams

Since its administration in April, Debenhams reduced its store estate down to 124 stores, down from the approximately 140 sites it had before lockdown.

These store closures led to hundreds of job cuts, although an exact number was never specified.

Just recently, the department store retailer also confirmed plans to make another 2500 redundancies.

The latest round of job cuts are part of Debenhams’ plans to streamline its shop floor teams and reduce costs as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of abating.

The retailer added that it had no plans to shut more stores and stressed that the stores that have reopened since lockdown were trading strongly.

However, the Debenhams business is currently up for sale and its owners have reportedly drawn up “contingency” plans for its liquidation.

Debenhams Hilco Capital liquidation

19. Shoe Zone

In June, Shoe Zone announced it would close down 20 stores and make head office job cuts after posting a loss before tax of £2.5 million in the six months to April 4.

The retailer said that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, “immediate action” had been taken to reduce its cash outflows and negotiate with landlords and suppliers.

The business said it would continue a review of the viability of all stores after lockdown ends.

Shoe Zone reports £2.5m loss for half year to April

20. Dixons Carphone

Earlier this month, Dixons Carphone announced plans to cut 800 jobs as part of an overhaul of its store management structure.

The parent company of tech retailer Currys PC World said the shake-up would see it create a “flatter management structure” as it adapts to increasing online sales.

Dixons Carphone said the changes would it see remove retail manager, assistant manager and team leader roles, while introducing new sales manager, customer experience manager and operational excellence manager positions in stores.

Just before lockdown came into place, Dixons Carphone permanently shut down all 531 of its standalone Carphone Warehouse stores, which resulted in 2900 job redundancies.

Dixons Carphone full year profits more than halve

21. DW Sports 

Earlier this month sports retailer and gym group DW Sports filed for administration, placing over 1700 employees at risk.

The group operates 73 gyms and 75 retail sites across the UK but permanently closed 25 of its stores.

Trading through the DW Sports website has also ceased with immediate effect, while its retail arm will be wound down for good.

Since then the Frasers Group boss Mike Ashley paid £37 million to buy DW Sports out of administration.

administration DW Sports

22. Oasis & Warehouse

Oasis & Warehouse Group filed for administration in April, leading to an immediate 202 job cuts.

A further 1800 job cuts were made after all stores were permanently closed when administrators failed to find a buyer for the whole business.

In June, Boohoo acquired the online businesses and intellectual property of Oasis and Warehouse in a deal worth £5.25 million.

Boohoo snaps up Oasis & Warehouse's online business

23. BrightHouse

The rent-to-own high street retailer officially collapsed into administration at the end of March, placing 2400 jobs from across 240 stores at risk.

BrightHouse falls into administration, 2400 jobs at risk

24. Quiz

In June, Quiz sought administrators for its store portfolio, blaming the move on the lockdown.

The move resulted in 93 job cuts.

Quiz administration KPMG

25. Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret announced that its UK division had fallen into administration in June, putting over 800 jobs and 25 stores at risk.

The US lingerie retailer has 25 stores in the UK,

Next is currently in pole position for taking over Victoria’s Secret UK operations after beating off bidding competition from Marks & Spencer.

Next in line for Victoria's Sectret's UK franchise

26. Oliver Sweeney

Oliver Sweeney was placed in administration in mid-July. The retailer closed all of its stores as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown in late March.

Its five stores based in London’s Mayfair, Leadenhall Market and Covent Garden, as well as shops in Leeds and Manchester, will now all remain permanently closed, resulting in job cuts.

The group’s online and wholesale business were not part of the administration and will continue to operate.

Oliver Sweeney administration store closures

27. Aldo

In May, the UK arm of Canadian footwear retailer Aldo filed for administration due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five of its UK stores have now been permanently closed while it continues to “future options” for eight other stores.

An exact number of how many jobs will be affected was not specified.

Aldo had filed for creditor protection in Canada, the US and Switzerland, and administration in Ireland.

Aldo Aldo Bensadoun David Bensadoun administration

28. WHSmith

Earlier this month, WHSmith announced plans to cut more than 1000 jobs across its UK store operations as bosses said its recovery from the Covid-19 lockdown was “slow”.

The books and stationery retailer said it needed to reduce costs as its shops in airports and railway stations – usually the star performers in its trading updates – have been hit by low passenger numbers while its high street stores have also suffered from low footfall.

The job cuts are on top of the 150 head office redundancies announced in July.

29. Harrods

In July, Harrods made almost 700 staff members redundant after the luxury department store conceded it has struggled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email circulated to staff, Harrods chief executive Michael Ward said 680 jobs out of its 4800-strong workforce – or around 14 per cent – would be axed.

Ward said the job cuts would come “in parts of the business that have been most affected by the challenges of lockdown”.

Harrods podcast

30. Selfridges

Selfridges cut 450 jobs as it warned annual sales are expected to be “significantly less” than last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The luxury department store said it would reduce its total workfroce by 14 per cent to cope with the impact of the virus and subsequent lockdown.

In a message to staff, group managing director Anne Pitcher warned the recovery would be “slow”, stressing 2020 will be “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.

best department store in the world

31. Ted Baker

Ted Baker said it would cut 500 jobs as it struggles to survive amid the UK’s tough trading climate.

The job cuts represent a quarter of its UK workforce, and will take place across both retail and its head office, as part of efforts to save £6 million by the end of the year.

Some 200 jobs will go at the Ugly Brown Building, Ted Baker’s London head office, with the rest from its estate of 46 stores plus dozens of department store concessions.

Ted Baker growth

32. Marks & Spencer

Earlier this month, Marks & Spencer announced the biggest round of retail job cuts since lockdown – with a total of 7000 jobs to be axed over the next three months as part of efforts to transform the business amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The job cuts are expected to take place across its stores, regional management and its support centre.

M&S said the plans came after seeing a “material shift” in trade.

The job cuts are in addition to the 950 cuts revealed in July where it sought to make changes to its management structures.

M&S expected voluntary redundancies or early retirements would make up the majority of the job cuts.

M&S Spain

33. Dyson

Dyson said it would axe 900 jobs across the company as the Covid-19 crisis has shifted consumer purchases online.

The tech brand and retailer employs a total of 4000 people in the UK, and those affected will be staff in retail and customer service.

At least 600 jobs will be scrapped in the UK, with the other 300 being elsewhere in Dyson’s global operations.


34. White Stuff

White Stuff reportedly made 390 of its staff across its head office and shop floor teams redundant.

The job cuts form part of a wider restructuring and transformation scheme, which has now been completed.

The redundancies reportedly affected 100 head office staff and 290 employees from its UK store estate.

White Stuff The Body Shop

35. Asos

In July, Asos kicked off consultation with around 500 day shift staff at its customer care centre, which is located in Leavesden near Watford, Hertfordshire.

While the final number of job cuts was not confirmed, and efforts would be made to provide employment for affected staff elsewhere within the company, it follows the 100 redundancies announced in March, and another 100 last October.

However, unlike its peers – which attributed the pandemic to accelerating or prompting the job cuts – Asos said its redundancies were part of an ongoing restructuring scheme it launched in October last year.

Asos profit warning

36. Mulberry

Mulberry said it would axe around 350 jobs across its global workforce as it endured ongoing uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The luxury retailer, which employs 1400 people in total, launched a consultation process with the aim to make around 25 per cent of its workforce redundant.


37. Waterstones

Waterstones said it would make a number of redundancies at its London Piccadilly head office.

The books and gifting retailer did not specify the exact number of job cuts.


38. Baird Group

The creditors of the Baird Group, one of the licencees for Ben Sherman and Suit Direct, voted in favour of its CVA proposals earlier this month.

This means the menswear firm will push ahead with axing 264 jobs and shutting down 18 stores, as well as one warehouse and one office, with immediate effect.

The loss of 264 staff affects those who work in retail and distribution, mainly servicing the Baird Group’s Debenhams concession business.

However, the 18 store closures in the CVA pertain to the Baird Group’s standalone stores, with its Debenhams concessions unaffected.

Ben Sherman

39. Hotter

Hotter’s CVA, launched in late July, will see it permanently shut 46 stores across the UK.

While a “number” of redundancies will take place, the retailer said at least 350 jobs will be saved.

Hotter Claire Pearl

40. Jarrold

Norwich’s heritage department store Jarrold has made almost one quarter of its total workforce redundant, including its chief executive Minnie Moll.

The 250-year-old retailer said Moll has left the business with immediate effect as part of a “a restructure of our executive team” brought about by the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

A recent business-wide consultation also resulted in the loss of 90 jobs at Jarrold, which equates to almost one quarter of its workforce of around 400.

The executive restructure and job cuts were part of a cost reduction scheme that Moll herself announced back in June.

90 job cuts at heritage dept store Jarrolds, including CEO

41. Intu

Intu made 61 redundancies at both its London head office and one of its subsidiary property companies after collapsing into administration in June.

The shopping centre owner cut 46 roles from its group head offices in London, as well as a further 15 jobs at its Broadmarsh centre in Nottingham.

At the time of the administration, approximately 370 people worked at Intu’s head office.

Intu is in the process of a restructuring, being overseen by administrators from KPMG, that has been made more challenging by the complex ownership structure of its 17 shopping centres.

Intu hires new team to boost retailer performance at its centres

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  1. I know their a small insignificant retailer now but Homebase made redundant 25% of their total head office staff and shut one head office site in June. Totally 100 jobs even though their sales are significantly up on last year and ahead of plan.

  2. Nearly all of these companies were in trouble before Covid-19, all the pandemic has done is accelerate the inevitable closures and thus job losses that would have occurred any way. Calls for money to be thrown at the high streets to revive them will not change the continuing trend towards on-line shopping. What needs to happen is for local authorities to prioritise which retail areas should be allowed to flourish and encourage all their retailers to move into those areas and then take the units outside of those areas and convert them into homes. We will never again require the volume of square footage we currently have for retail. The goverment should also put in place a total ban on the building of any more out of town retail parks and like wise the building of new retail units as part of new developments. Without such measures the empty shops will continue to blight our shopping streets and all that does is to put the shopping public off.

  3. Well done Michael Hill, I totally agree, most of these stores were in trouble or had been “rescued” long before the virus.

  4. Camerons government was told all this when he said town centres first after the riots of some years ago but simply allowed unrestricted speculative investment to continue adding fuel to the fire . We are now paying for all this . There is no plan . Trading while bankrupt with cvs and gimmicks and owners living abroad is the recipe for chaos .parliament is a disgrace and incapable of representing the needs of our society as a whole when it comes to our town centres

  5. Be car friendly, if you want your high street to survive. Cheap, proximate, safe parking and people will “just pop by”. Treat cars as a disease (sorry, polar bears) and they won’t. Simple.


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