‘Unprecedented change’ drives ongoing fall in retail employment, BRC

‘Unprecedented change’ drives ongoing fall in retail employment, BRC

Year-on-year total UK retail employment fell by 2.4% in Q1 2019, a higher reduction than the one of 2.2% seen in Q4 2018, according to the BRC. And more jobs will disappear unless the Government changes its approach to the sector, the organisation claims.

This was a result of structural change in the retail industry triggered by the advent of online sales and other technologies, it says. Meanwhile, 17% of retailers indicated plans to reduce staff in the coming quarter, above the comparable figure of 13% last year, and 67% seek to keep their staff numbers unchanged (down from 75% last year).

“Yet again, the number of retail jobs fell during the first quarter of this year, with a 2.4% year on year fall in employees; this would be equivalent to losing 74,400 people across the retail industry. While the number of stores rose, this was mainly driven by an increase in small format stores, with many larger stores closing, resulting in a net job loss. And more jobs are likely to disappear unless there is a shift in Government policies,” says Helen Dickinson , Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium.

“Retail is undergoing a period of unprecedented change in response to new technologies and changing consumer behaviour. The investment required to successfully navigate this transformation is being held back by the rising cost of public policy. Over three million people rely directly on the retail sector for jobs, with many more working throughout the supply chain. Yet spiralling business costs pose a grave threat to these jobs – as recent administrations, CVAs, and store closures show.”

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