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Retailers plan widespread job cuts this quarter

Half of the UK’s retailers are planning to cut back staff in the first quarter of 2013 despite retail employment figures rising 0.6% in the last quarter of last year.

This number is up on last year’s BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor (REM), when just a third of retailers confirmed cut backs.

As well as the rise in probable redundancies, only 4% of retailers said they would increase staffing levels, down from 13% last year.

This study comes on the back of figures showing a slight increase in employment in the last quarter of 2012, although the BRC noted this was largely driven by part-time workers.

The number of retail stores fell 3.1% in the last quarter - the heaviest decline since the monitor began in October 2008.

There were 573 fewer stores in December 2012 compared with December 2011.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “The fact that total employment edged up during this quarter, driven by part-time workers, is a shaft of light against an otherwise challenging backdrop.  It shows that, despite relentlessly tough times, retailers are continuing to invest in people and support job creation as much as they can.

“But the record drop in store numbers is stark evidence that this investment should not be taken for granted. We’re by no means out of the woods yet - given the administrations of recent weeks, the next quarter’s figures are likely to make difficult reading.”

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