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Retail furloughs at their lowest

Retail furloughs dropped to 220,000 in May from 400,000 in April, the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic. In May, retail furloughs made up 8.4% of all UK furloughs now. And while this is a move in the right direction, it’s worrisome that 7.1% of the retail workforce remains on furlough. The big question now is whether the release of pent-up demand seen in May will continue well into the second half of the year or whether this is just a temporary euphoria from consumers that have longed for “normality”. For many retailers that saw a significant drop in revenue due to the forced closure of shops or to new consumption shifts, demand recovery is paramount to their survival. And the fate of furlough employees is naturally tied to the health of the businesses employing them.

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