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Retail employment continues to decline in first quarter of 2017

New figures have shown that the number of jobs in the retail sector fell in the first quarter of 2017 with both food and non-food retailers contributing to the decline in full time equivalent employment.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail employment continues to decline in first quarter of 2017

New figures have shown that the number of jobs in the retail sector fell in the first quarter of 2017 with both food and non-food retailers contributing to the decline in full time equivalent employment.

The data from The British Retail Consortium shows that the number of full time jobs fell by 3.9% in the three months to 31 March compared with the same quarter a year ago. Food retailers experienced the biggest fall.

This follows a 3% drop in the final quarter of 2016.

All three months of the first quarter reported a decline in full time employment, with January’s decline only marginally shallower than that seen in February and March.

Helen Dickinson BRC chief executive, explained: “Today’s fall in full-time equivalent employment from our sample of retailers shows a continuation of a year-long downward trend of retailers reducing the number of hours being worked.

“We expect retailers to continue reviewing how they work with their people as they look to address the changing face of retail and keep prices low for consumers. Building inflationary pressures and public policy costs, alongside intense competition, are taking their toll and retail, as a people intensive industry, is being hit hard. That said, many retailers are actively investing in their people to improve the quality and productivity of jobs per employee.

“Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations for the next government; certainty for the EU colleagues working in the industry and a business tax environment fit for purpose in the 21st century are what’s needed for the retail industry to drive productivity with better jobs, innovation and new skills for the digital age.”

The BRC’s figures also show that the number of outlets rose by 0.6% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Food retailers drove the overall increase in the number of stores.

 

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