Belfast Telegraph

Hours worked by retail staff continue to fall

A downward trend in the number of hours worked by retail staff has continued for a year, new figures show.

The equivalent number of full-time jobs fell by 3.9% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

The biggest falls were among food workers, despite an increase in the number of stores, said the British Retail Consortium.

Chief executive Helen Dickinson said: " 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.

"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."