Less than half of retailers expect to increase staffing in the next three months, compared with 72% in the same period last year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
42% of retailers anticipate they will increase the number of staff this year, with the majority intending to keep staff levels the same (64%). 4% of retailers said they intend to reduce staff numbers, compared with 3% in the same period last year, found the BRC-Bond Dickinson Retail Employment Monitor.
The data showed that the number of full-time retail jobs fell by 1.3% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2014, as the number of overall stores increased by 2.9%.
Non-food retailers contributed marginally to the overall increase in shop numbers for the first time in two years.
But the average number of full-time equivalent staff per store fell to its lowest level since the monitor began in 2009, which it suggested was due to the drive to smaller format stores, particularly in food.
“This is the fifth month in a row where we have seen a decline in the number of hours worked in retail,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC. “This quarter’s fall of -1.3% in full-time equivalent jobs is once again driven by the food retailers reacting to the significant changes that are going on across the industry.”
Christina Tolvas-Vincent, head of retail employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, said: “Even the anticipation of Christmas appears muted this year in terms of recruitment, perhaps due to the weak wage increases reported across the UK.”