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20% of indies forced to make job cuts in 2009

Almost three quarters of British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA) members froze employee wage increases over the past year and 20% of members made redundancies to cut overheads at their businesses.

The BSSA Wage Survey polled 250 independent retailers across the UK, and 70% of respondents awarded no pay increases to staff over the year. A further 35% of respondents cut back staff hours over the year, and those retailers that did recruit said higher levels of unemployment had made it easier to recruit suitable staff. Of those surveyed, 26% experienced difficulties recruiting, against 40% the year before.

BSSA chief executive John Dean said that despite the staff cuts, levels of business confidence showed a slight improvement on last year’s survey.

He added: “Despite current conditions, there is a positive in that
good staff are easier to find and there is less staff turnover. Also, starting wages have dropped and people are starting at a slightly lower salary rate.”

He added that a benefit to indie employers was that their average starting wage rate was 54p above the national minimum wage paid by many multiple retailers this year. However, that compared with 65p above last year.

The BSSA Wage Survey 2009 covered the 12 months between October 2008 and October 2009. To buy a copy for £50, call 01295 712277.

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