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Retail employment continues to fall

The total number of retail employees in the UK fell by 2.3% – equivalent to 72,000 jobs – in the second quarter of 2019, compared with 2018.

Full-time employees fell by 3% year on year, while the number of part-time workers was down by 2%. The total number of hours worked dropped by 2.5%, research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has shown.

Stores growth slowed to 1.7%, compared with growth in the first quarter of 2.3%.

However, almost a third of retailers (30%) said they planned to increase their staff numbers compared with last year.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail is undergoing a period of profound transformation driven by changing consumer behaviours and innovative technologies. As these structural changes unfold, we have seen retail employment falling across the country, with a 2.3% drop as compared with the previous year. This is equivalent to around 72,000 jobs being lost. Such declines are likely to endure, hastened by government policies that continue to add costs to an industry already under immense pressures.

“With a new prime minister and cabinet in place, there is a clear opportunity to rethink the high street strategy. Business rates pose an unsustainable burden on shops and jobs, and we urge the government to provide immediate relief to retailers large and small to facilitate much-needed investment in the digital and physical offerings they provide to their customers.”

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