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Number of retail jobs declines

The number of full-time jobs in retail fell by 3.3% in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year, research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) indicates. 

All three months during the quarter recorded a decline in full-time employment, and April’s levels were lowest.

The BRC’s retail employment monitor found there was a reduction in hours worked on both full-time and part-time contracts, and 69% of survey respondents reported that employees worked fewer hours during the quarter. Meanwhile, 15% said they intend to decrease employment levels in the coming quarter – no respondents planned this in Q2 2016.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said reductions were “particularly acute” among non-food retailers.

She added that factors driving a decrease in retail jobs include advances in technology and automation, a “difficult” market environment and policies that have increased the cost of employing people, such as the National Living Wage and the Apprenticeship Levy.

Dickinson said: “The pace of consolidation in the retail workforce has slowed this quarter compared with last. However, there are further reductions to come. The transformation of the industry is still in progress and this quarter’s data show that more retailers are intending to reduce their workforce in the coming months than at the same point last year.

“With consumers seeing inflation squeezing their spending power, the challenges facing retailers will only increase in coming months, reinforcing the pressure on retailers to rethink and restructure their workforce.”

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