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Increasing confidence leads retailers to create more new jobs in Q1 2014

The number of full-time equivalent jobs in the retail industry increased by 1.8% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014, driven mostly by the non-food sector.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Increasing confidence leads retailers to create more new jobs in Q1 2014

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium and Bond Dickinson in their latest Retail Employment Monitor show that improvements in confidence continued to rise in the non-food sector which contributed disproportionately to the number of full-time jobs created.

In addition, growth of full-time hours outpaced that of part-time to highlight rising confidence particularly in non-food retail.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "The importance of retail's contribution to the economy is underlined again by this encouraging growth in jobs. As the UK's largest private employer, it's particularly heartening to see increases across all types of role, including full-time hires. This demonstrates increasing confidence.

"Non-food retailers have performed particularly well this quarter for employment. With strong growth in full-time staff in this category, it is clear that the impact of more positive sales results and better economic conditions is unlocking increased investment.”

The figures also reveal that the number of outlets rose by 1.3% in the first quarter of 2014, driven entirely by food retailers.

Christina Tolvas-Vincent, head of retail employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, said: "In a departure from recent years where food retailers have underpinned any growth in retail employment, non-food retailers have actually driven the increase in full time jobs. It looks like the recovery has finally started to be felt outside of the supermarkets.

"The only blot on the buoyant landscape appears to be a fall in hours worked amongst food retailers, despite a growth in store numbers. An increasing trend of smaller stores would support this but it will be interesting to see how these figures play out in the extremely competitive world of food retail."

Looking ahead Tolvas-Vincent said the outlook for future employment looked positive with the vast majority of retailers saying they intend to either increase or maintain current staffing levels.

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