Retail employment grows at fastest rate in two years
Retail employment has recorded the fastest growth in two years, having risen by 2.9% in the third quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier.
Figures released by the British Retail Consortium in its BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor found that the increase was driven by part-time workers, particularly in the grocery sector. The BRC said the growth was the equivalent to 20,533 additional full-time jobs in its sampled retailers.
However, in non-food retailing the number of outlets and full-time jobs fell with all growth in jobs and shop numbers is coming from the food sector. Looking ahead to Christmas, 68% of retailers suggested that they would increase staffing levels in the run-up to the festive period as retailers' employment intentions improved year-on-year.
Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: "The strongest retail jobs growth for two years looks like another reason for optimism. But it's important not to get too carried away. Our headline figures hide wide variations in retail performance.
"It's vital the Government supports stronger and more widespread growth, rather than choking it off. After two huge increases in two years, Business Rates should be frozen next April to avoid more boarded up shops and fewer employment opportunities, especially for young people."
Christina Tolvas-Vincent, head of retail employment at business law firm Bond Pearce, added: "We can look at these figures with cautious optimism; 20,500 extra jobs is certainly good news but it masks the divided fortunes of the food and non-food retailers.
"There should be a few good trading months ahead in the run up to Christmas and over two thirds of retailers intend to make the most of this by taking on more staff. Whether it will be enough to revive non-food retailers is unclear. In the New Year, when everyone traditionally tightens their belts, and there is no Jubilee or Olympics for the nation to focus on, it will no doubt be the non-food retailers that will be most concerned."
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