Employment in the retail sector in the UK declined by 2.8% year on year in the third quarter of 2019, a new report by the BRC has revealed.
According to BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson, it is equivalent to 85,000 people losing jobs in the retail industry in the past 12 months.
It is also the 15th consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline in the retail workforce.
'Pressure On Retailers'
Dickinson added, " Weak consumer demand and Brexit uncertainty continue to put pressure on retailers already focused on delivering the transformation taking place in the industry.
"While MPs rail against job losses in manufacturing, their response to larger losses in retail has remained muted."
Full-time employment declined by 4.5%, while part-time employment declined by 1.5% during this period.
Total work hours fell by 2.6%, with full-time hours seeing a greater reduction (3.2%) than part-time hours (2.0%), the report showed.
The data indicates a slight acceleration in the fall in employment when compared with the second quarter, when the total number of employees fell by 2.3% and total hours saw a 2.5% decline.
The Golden Quarter
In the fourth quarter, 62% of retailers plan to increase staff in contrast with 43% in the same quarter last year.
The remaining 38% plan to keep their staff numbers unchanged, up from 36% in 2018.
Every year, retailers increase the workforce temporarily during this peak trading period to deal with increased demand.
The BRC expects the long-term decline in employment to continue as a result of ongoing structural changes, weak consumer spending and fierce competition within the industry.
Dickinson added, "The Government should enact policies that enable retailers to invest more in the millions of people who choose to build their careers in retail. In order to promote innovation, training, and productivity, Government must reform both the broken business rates system, and the inflexibilities of the apprenticeship levy.
"This will allow retailers to focus on enhancing their digital and physical offerings for customers, support the development of employees and ensure high streets remain diverse and exciting places for everyone."
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.