The number of full-time jobs in the retail sector fell by 3.9% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to last year.
Both food and non-food retailers contributed to the decline, although food saw the deepest fall, research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows.
During the period, the number of retail stores rose by 0.6% compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Today’s fall in full-time equivalent employment from our sample of retailers shows a continuation of a year-long downward trend of retailers reducing the number of hours being worked.
“We expect retailers to continue reviewing how they work with their people as they look to address the changing face of retail and keep prices low for consumers. Building inflationary pressures and public policy costs, alongside intense competition, are taking their toll and retail, as a people intensive industry, is being hit hard.
”That said, many retailers are actively investing in their people to improve the quality and productivity of jobs per employee.
“Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations for the next government, certainty for the EU colleagues working in the industry and a business tax environment fit for purpose in the 21st century are what’s needed for the retail industry to drive productivity with better jobs, innovation and new skills for the digital age.”