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Record reduction in retail employment

Hours worked in retail in the third quarter fell by 4.2% year on year, a British Retail Consortium survey has revealed.

This was a steeper reduction than the year’s second quarter, when hours fell by 3.3%.

The total number of employees decrease by 3% on the same quarter last year, and full-time labour fell at a faster rate than part time.

A total of 50% of survey respondents said they intend to increase employment levels next quarter, while the remainder are not intending on changing staffing levels, reflecting the same intentions reported in 2016’s third quarter.

Store numbers increased by 2.4% this quarter.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: ”The pace of job reductions in the retail industry is gathering steam. The three months to September saw the sharpest year-on-year drop in hours and employment since the monitor started in 2008.

”Behind this shrinking of the workforce is both a technological revolution in retail, which is reducing demand for labour, and government policy, which is driving up the cost of employment. With both supply and demand pushing in the same direction, it’s little surprise that we’re seeing fewer people working in the industry.”

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