Around a third of retail businesses plan to get rid of workers in the coming months and an estimated 70,000 retail jobs were axed last year amid slowing consumer spending and rising overheads.
That’s according to the latest data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which shows that consumers choosing to buy online instead of on the high street meant a decline in demand for retail staff last year.
According to a new report from the BRC based on a business survey, there was a more than 2% drop in retail employment last year with full and part-time staff sharing reduced hours.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said the retail industry is undergoing “a profound change and the latest employment data underpins those trends”.
She said: “Technology is changing both the way consumers shop, but also the types of jobs that exist in retail.
“While we expect the number of frontline staff to fall over the next decade, there will many new jobs created in areas such as digital marketing and AI.
“However, this transformation comes at a cost for retailers, who are already weighed down by the increasing costs of public policy, from sky high business rates to rising minimum wage.
“To support this investment in the future of retail, government needs to play its part, reforming the broken business rates system to ensure it is fit for the 21st century.”
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