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Jobs in retail hits two-year low, report reveals

Published 28/07/2016

The number of workers fell by 2.4% compared with the same period last year, with 'deep declines' reported in April and May
The number of workers fell by 2.4% compared with the same period last year, with 'deep declines' reported in April and May

The number of retail jobs has continued to fall, showing the "dramatic" structural change in the industry, a new report reveals.

More stores have also closed, driven by the food sector, according to the figures for the second quarter of the year by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The number of workers fell by 2.4% compared with the same period last year, with "deep declines" reported in April and May.

Fierce competition was said to be affecting the food sector, where the number of hours worked fell to its lowest level since the end of 2014.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: "Today's figures show that full-time equivalent employment in the retail industry has fallen at its fastest rate since the second quarter of 2014.

"The number of stores in the UK has also fallen again, albeit at a slower rate than we have previously seen. This continues to show the dramatic structural changes that are underway in the retail industry.

"As an industry we are working to ensure that the jobs that remain in UK retailing are higher skilled and more productive.

"Challenging economic conditions, fierce competition between retailers, customers' ever-changing shopping preferences, the lightning expansion of digital technology and external demands placed on retailers by government have all put pressure on the UK's retail businesses.

"We all need to ensure that there are not simply fewer jobs in retailing but that the jobs that remain will be better, too."

Retailers faced a number of challenges as a result of Brexit, the national living wage and the apprenticeship levy, said the report.

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