It noted recent announcements of job losses from House of Fraser, HMV, Debenhams and figures compiled by the consumer charity Which? showing that the UK has lost nearly two-thirds of its bank and building society branches over the past 30 years, with a sharp increase over the last decade.
An estimated 70,000 retail jobs were lost in 2018. At a parliamentary event in March on the future of Post Offices, Labour’s Gill Furniss spoke about the importance of financial inclusivity. She noted the lack of options readily available to those without online banking, with rural areas in particular suffering from bank branch closures and becoming increasingly reliant on a stretched Post Office.
The report noted that some optimists see an industry in transformation, as retail re-invents itself in a less traditional manner. Chief advocate of this belief is the Chair of John Lewis, Charlie Mayfield, who encourages retailers to innovate – ‘saving the high street can’t just mean retaining what we already have, it has to embrace change’.
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