SHOP staff in Dorset will be among 40,000 set to be affected by a wave of closures among Britain’s biggest retailing names.

Around 20,000 have already lost their jobs this year, with a similar number of jobs under threat or due to disappear, research by BBC Radio 5’s Wake Up To Money found.

Locally, 2018 has seen a wave of shop closures including Marks & Spencer in Bournemouth town centre, Toys R Us in Poole and Maplins in Bournemouth and Poole.

Homebase at Tower Park is closing soon, while Bournemouth council has been making contingency plans for the possible closure of Homebase at its Mallard Road Retail Park.

Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld disappeared altogether in the UK this year, while M&S, Carphone Warehouse and Dorset-based New Look were among the chains announcing store closures.

Bournemouth has two large department stores whose owners are cutting branches – House of Fraser and Debenhams. It is not known which branches will go.

Earlier this year, Jeff Bray, senior lecturer in marketing and retail management at Bournemouth University, said: “I would be surprised if, in five years’ time, we have three department stores in Bournemouth. I can’t foresee how that can be viable.”

The retail sector employs around three million people in the UK.

Jason Gault, managing director of recruitment agency TeamJobs, said there were a host of jobs that people from retail could do in other sectors.

“A lot of people think ‘My skills are only in retail, what am I going to do?’. A lot of people find the job market quite intimidating,” he said.

“A lot of those personal skills that people have in retail are really useful in business but people just think ‘I’m in retail’ and they pigeon-hole themselves.”

He said seeking advice from an agency or from someone else in business could help people understand their transferable skills.

“A lot of firms are realising that they can’t find the perfectly-skilled candidate at the moment,” he said.

“I think there are lots of opportunities out there and I think the challenge which a lot of people have is if they just send out a retail-based CV, they’ll get pigeon holed as a retail candidate,” he added.