EMPLOYMENT in the UK’s retail sector fell by 0.4 per cent last quarter compared to the same period last year, the first time that three consecutive months of negative annual jobs growth has been recorded.
The fall in retail employment is equivalent to 3,100 fewer full-time jobs, despite the number of retail outlets in operation growing by 4.5 per cent over the same period – the equivalent of an extra 743 shops.
According to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), food retailers are bucking the trend, increasing employment as non-food retailers cut working hours of both full-time and part-time employees.
“The split reflects the very different fortunes of retailers selling food – a must-have for customers – and those servicing discretionary and big ticket spending,” said Stephen Roberston, director general of the BRC.
The industry group also surveyed employers on their plans for the coming quarter, with 58 per cent of respondents saying they intend to keep staffing levels unchanged in the next three months, the same as this time last year.
But the number of employers planning to decrease staffing levels has jumped by 17 per cent last year, with 25 per cent saying they plan to trim their workforce going into autumn.