The first retail bankruptcy of the new year, stationery company Paperchase, had already been dragged through the restructuring mill back in March 2019, and now stands to see 173 of its stores closed and 1,500 of its sales jobs wiped out.
The British retail sector, for so long plagued by overcapacity in an overcrowded market, is now watching dumbstruck as a combination of the grossly mismanaged pandemic and the growth of online shopping sends it careering over a cliff edge.
The Centre for Retail Research reports that more than 176,000 sales jobs were lost in 2020, and estimates that a further 200,000 could be for the chop in 2021. (UK retail loses more than 170,000 in 2020 by Patricia Nilsson, Financial Times, 1 January 2021)
Whilst the botched pandemic and the switch to online shopping have accelerated the carnage on the high street, the underlying drumbeat continues to be the capitalist overproduction crisis.