Retail employment rose by 3.7% in the second quarter against the year-ago period – the strongest growth since December 2009, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Bond Dickinson Retail Employment Monitor.
BRC Director General Helen Dickinson said: “This is the best result we’ve seen for retail jobs since 2009. While we know that there is considerable regional variation in retail performance and footfall, these new jobs provide further evidence that a consumer recovery is starting to take shape.
“Retail employs more people than any other private sector industry, and is a major source of jobs for younger people. The boost in employment we have seen today will therefore be particularly welcome news for everyone entering the market this summer and looking to start a rewarding career in retail with one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative industries.”
She added: “The small increase in intention to employ is also significant. Almost all those surveyed intend to employ more people or have the same number of people working for them over the next three months. This means that four times as many retailers are looking to increase employment in the coming months as are looking to decrease it.”
Store numbers also increased 1.5% with the addition of 263 stores, although this was driven entirely by food retailers, while the number of non-food stores continues to decline.
Christina Tolvas-Vincent, Head of Retail Employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, said: “The contraction of non-food stores highlights the structural change in retail with e-retailing growing fast and consumers choosing to shop increasingly online.
“It would be interesting to know whether the new jobs fuelling the strongest growth in UK retail employment since 2009 are in e-retailing or more traditional store-based retail positions. Where are retailers investing for the future?
“Although redundancy levels are still relatively high, most retail employers intend to keep staff numbers the same or increase them. This suggests more good news to come and who knows, perhaps the arrival of the royal baby will kickstart a new wave of feel-good consumer spending as many retailers hope.”