Responding to reports that Tesco food counter closures and scale-backs could threaten up to 15,000 UK jobs, leader of the Liberal Democrats and former Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
"Job losses on this scale are very serious.
"There are clearly deep problems within the retail sector, town centres have been declining for years but now out of town stores are struggling too. Perhaps British shoppers have stopped spending and we are on the verge of a serious downturn.
"Confidence in the economy is low and the government must provide some stability and security to individuals and businesses in the UK."