The boss of one of the UK’s most successful and resilient High Street chains has told the BBC that hundreds of thousands of traditional retail jobs may not survive in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Lord Wolfson, who runs clothing firm Next, said there was a clear threat to thousands of jobs, which are now “unviable” because the lockdown has triggered a permanent shift to online shopping.
“I wouldn’t want to underestimate the difficulty that is going to cause a lot of people who work in retail, I think it’s going to be very uncomfortable,” he said.
His comments came just hours after the chancellor announced a new Job Support Scheme that would see the government top up the pay of people unable to work full time.
But the government’s contribution to workers’ pay will fall sharply compared with the furlough scheme. Under furlough, it initially paid 80% of