It has been one of the toughest years in history for all retailers, globally. In Britain, some of our biggest and most popular firms remain jittery following abrupt store closures during the first stage of lockdown in spring, plus there is a general drop in consumer spending to contend with, as people have less occasions to buy new clothes for. John Lewis announced several shop shutterings amounting to 1,300 job losses, Marks & Spencer will axe 7,000 jobs, and Clarks will cut 50 out of its 345 UK shops.
But for certain high street brands which were already under pressure before the coronavirus crisis, the challenges of this year have pushed them to the brink – or over it, in many cases. The administration packages now being negotiated for these brands, often with foreign investment firms, typically prioritise a future of online-only trading, rather than in bricks-and-mortar retail. As well as many vacant lots on high streets up and down the country (the Centre for Retail Research predicts that as many as 20,000 shops could close this year), the proposed rescue deals could prompt the disappearance of some once-loved brand names from view – labels which once held strong identities, the loss of which would be a blow to the British retail scene.
Consider this a pulse check for the British brand names which are teetering on the edge – and might yet be saved in some capacity.
Established 1884, Warrington