The total number of full time retail jobs fell by 3.9% in the first quarter compared with the year-ago period, according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) yesterday (Thursday April 27).
The BRC Retail Employment Monitor for Q1 2017 reveals that both food and non-food retailers contributed to the decline, but food that saw the deepest falls.
All three months of the quarter reported drops in numbers, with January’s decline only marginally shallower than those for February and March.
Commenting on the findings, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “The 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.
“That said, many retailers are actively investing in their people to improve the quality and productivity of jobs per employee.”
She continued: “Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations for the next government: certainty for 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.”