The 2018 Retail Crisis: Causes and Consequences

Edgbaston Park Hotel, Pevsner Room
Tuesday 6 November 2018 (14:00-16:00)

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Many leading retail chains in the UK are in a state of crisis with M&S, House of Fraser and Mothercare all hitting the headlines in recent months as a result of their struggling performance.

Store closures have led to approximately 5,500 job losses to date and if other retailers follow this path, the potential economic impact of the declining high street is a real cause for concern.

Restaurants are also facing difficulties as Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo and Byron Burger have all recently closed outlets. Some have blamed the weather as the primary driver of restaurant under performance, but this (alone) cannot explain the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour across the wider industry; there are other contributory factors that require exploration.

Potentially contributing to the decline is the rise of online shopping, which has revolutionized retail and provided opportunities for efficiency and increased profitability for businesses. Nevertheless, there is a human cost to this evolution - as traditional stores close, jobs are lost. In addition, online retailers are maximising financial gains through their employment practices, including the use of zero-hour contracts and a reliance on migrant workers.

In this event led by Dr Amir Qamar, Dr Doğa Istanbulluoglu and Dr Emma Gardner, we seek to explore if what we are seeing is the death of the high street. Join us for a panel discussion where our experts will be delivering their take on the retail crisis and analysing the contributory factors and consequences of this retail upheaval, exploring the wider economic impact in terms of employment statistics, tax implications and skills, as well as working conditions and ethical business practices.

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This event is part of the Festival of Social Science which runs from 3-10 November 2018. See what other events are taking place in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham. 

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