New research shows 79,000 jobs were lost from the retail sector between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 – a drop of 2.5% year on year.
Retail jobs experienced their fourth consecutive quarter of decline, data published by the Office for National Statistics shows.
The trend is at odds with the wider job market, where 589,000 new positions were created in the same period – up 1.7% year on year.
However, retail remains the UK’s largest private employer, accounting for 9% of all jobs and counting over 3 million people on its payroll.
Kyle Monk, head of retail insight and analytics at the British Retail Consortium, called on the government to review business rates in light of the findings: “Sky high business rates have made it harder for shops to make much-needed investments in their physical and digital offerings.
”It is time for the government to act. Indeed, if they were as fast to act over the tens of thousands of retail jobs that have been lost in the last year as they are over smaller losses in manufacturing, then we might see a revival of our high streets and the communities they support.”