Number of retail jobs is falling as workers face pay cuts

Helen Cahill
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Retail workers are facing low pay and mass redundancies (Source: Getty)

Staff have become the casualties of the fierce competition and tough economic conditions facing the retail sector.

The number of full-time jobs in retail fell by 2.4 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

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Workers in food stores were particularly badly hit. Food retailers reported a decline in full-time employment, whereas non-food retailers reported an increase in employment. Store numbers were down by 0.4 per cent year-on-year, driven by a decrease in the number of food outlets, the BRC said.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "This continues to show the dramatic structural changes that are underway in the retail industry.

"As an industry we are working to ensure that the jobs that remain in UK retailing are higher skilled and more productive. Challenging economic conditions, fierce competition between retailers, customers' ever-changing shopping preferences, the lightning expansion of digital technology and external demands placed on retailers by government have all put pressure on the UK's retail businesses."

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The figures come after a series high-profile store closings at BHS, which went into administration in April. The administrators announced in June that the business would be wound down. Austin Reed also shut its stores earlier this year, leading to nearly 1,000 job losses.

Many of those workers who haven't left their jobs are facing pay cuts due to the introduction of the National Living Wage. City A.M. has learned that employees at M&S are being threatened with dismissal if they do not accept contracts which cut pension contributions and perks for working at anti-social times.

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