Retail experts are estimating 164,000 jobs are at risk as 10,000 shops could close in a High Street bloodbath in the coming months.
The dire news for those working in retail comes as HMV called in administrators following in the footsteps of House of Fraser, Evans Cycles, Maplin and Poundworld.
Now new analysis claims job losses in retail will rise 19.2 per cent to 164,000 in 2019 while store closures are set to hit 22,100 – a rise of 19.7 per cent.
Professor Joshua Bamford, from the Centre for Retail Research which prepared the forecasts, told the Mail on Sunday: "Consumers have shown over Christmas they are increasingly anxious and have become more careful about spending money.
"We expect to see a worsening of conditions over the next 12 months, caused by the high costs of running retail stores and continuing weak demand."
Mr Bamford said closures would hit independent retailers as well as large chains.
He also said the ongoing confusion over Brexit is continuing to undermine "consumer confidence".
HMV – which was rescued from administration in 2013 – has blamed rising business rates and music streaming for its collpase.
Executive chairman Paul McGowan said: “Even an exceptionally well-run and much-loved business such as HMV cannot withstand the tsunami of challenges facing retailers over the last 12 months on top of a dramatic change in consumer behaviour.”
He pointed out that HMV sold 31 per cent of physical copies of music in the UK in 2018 and 23 per cent of all DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “It has been a tough year for many retailers, with many well-known brands disappearing from our high streets.”
Administrators for HMV, which has 2,200 staff, are keeping all 125 stores open as they try to find a buyer for the chain.
It comes as shock new figures revealed the numbers hitting the High Street to do their Christmas shopping was down by tens of millions this year.
Around 44 million less shopping visits took place this year compared to the festive period in 2017.
Even online retailers are not immune to the painful slump with Asos issuing a shock profit warning before Christmas.
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