Growth Company launches programme of support for thousands of retail workers as coronavirus leads to largescale job cuts

The economic impact of long-term store closures due to the coronavirus is now starting to take its toll, with many large employers warning of potential job cuts. More than 10,000 jobs are estimated to have been cut nationally this week alone, with retailers in travel hubs particularly hard hit.

The owner of restaurant chains Café Rouge and Bella Italia fell into administration on Thursday, with 91 Casual Dining Group outlets closing immediately. The group is cutting 1,900 jobs. Administrators have also been appointed at intu Properties, placing further uncertainty over the jobs of thousands of shopworkers at large regional shopping centres including Greater Manchester’s intu Trafford Centre.

In response to the growing uncertainty facing retail workers and employers, The Growth Company has provided specific advice for retail sector workers via the Employ GM website.

Support for retail businesses seeking help to survive and protect jobs is being made available by the GC Business Growth Hub’s coronavirus microsite.

Delivered by the Growth Company in partnership with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and numerous delivery Partners, the EmployGM website was established at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic to support jobseekers and employers with vacancies.

Specific support for retail workers includes:

  • Careers advice
  • Skills support
  • Redundancy advice
  • Vacancy signposting

Part of the Growth Company’s #HereForBusiness campaign, the GC Business Growth Hub coronavirus microsite contains general information for companies contending with the impact of covid-19, with specific information for the retail sector via a Here For Retail section.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We are now beginning to see the true economic impact of the coronavirus, with retail workers particularly vulnerable to redundancy as the Government’s furlough scheme winds down and businesses face difficult decisions about their ability to reopen shops and stores that have been closed for months.

“This week alone has brought horrific news for the High Street, with thousands of jobs placed at risk, including many in Greater Manchester. We are in no doubt about the challenges faced by every business in our region, including the retail sector, and will continue to work with the Growth Company and other partners to put in place all the support we can.”

Mark Hughes, Chief Executive of The Growth Company, said: “Along with our partners, The Growth Company is here for business and individuals who need support during these uncertain times. While we know from the weekly Growth Company Covid-19 Impact Survey that every sector has been impacted by the coronavirus, the retail sector is being hit particularly hard.

“Many thousands of retail workers now need help to find new roles, or develop new skills, and EmployGM will signpost the support they need. Advice and help is also available for those retail businesses that are in distress, potentially providing them with additional support and funding to safeguard jobs.”

For more information and to get help from Employ GM visit www.employgm.org/.

Businesses looking for support can also visit the Coronavirus microsite at www.businessgrowthhub.com/Coronavirus or get in touch for more advice and support by emailing BGH@growthco.uk or call us on 0161 359 3050. Opening hours have been extended to Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am – 1pm to support businesses.