Shops lose 70,000 jobs in a year, says BRC


Shop in Birmingham

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High Street shops are under pressure as never before

UK shops and retailers employ 70,000 fewer people than they did a year ago as the High Street continues to decline, a survey indicates.

In the final three months of 2018, the number of employees in the retail sector fell 2.2% year-on-year, while total hours worked fell by 2.8%, said the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

“Frontline staff” in shops will fall further in the next decade, it said.

But new jobs in areas including digital marketing would be created, it added.

Bricks-and-mortar retailers have been hard hit by the downturn on the nation’s High Streets.

Online giants such as Amazon have had a huge impact, as more consumers see online shopping as cheaper and easier than going to the shops.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said retail was “undergoing a profound change” and the latest employment data underpinned those trends.

“Technology is changing both the way consumers shop, but also the types of jobs that exist in retail,” she said.

“While we expect the number of frontline staff to fall over the next decade, there will be many new jobs created in areas such as digital marketing and AI [artificial intelligence].

“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.”

She said government needed to play its part in the transformation of retail by “reforming the broken business rates system” to ensure that it was fit for the 21st Century.



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