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Published on October 24th, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Retail job losses mount as high street dilemma worsens

The British Retail Consortium today called for Government to review its high street policies after it estimated that 85,000 retail jobs have been lost in the past year.     

The organisation based its assessment on figures from the Office for National Statistics, which showed a 2.8% fall in retail jobs in the third quarter of the year.  

Meanwhile, year-on-year average pay for new retail jobs fell by 3.2% in the same quarter, according to the latest report from UK independent job board CV-Library, with applications dropping by a “staggering” 26.1%.

Retail was one of the only industries to experience a year-on-year drop in applications, with advertised jobs falling by 13.7% since 2018 as the sector remained under pressure from excessive business rates, the transformation to digital and the lingering effects of Brexit.

The news followed a report from the BRC which showed retail sales experienced their worst September since 1995, and figures released by Ipsos Retail Performance, which measures retail traffic in non-food stores, triggered uncertainty about the “golden quarter” and the potential hit to retailers’ profits, after shopper numbers in the third quarter of the year fell by 7.9%.

The employment data released by CV-Library echoes findings from the latest Retail Health Index, which cites that the third quarter of 2019 saw retail health drop to a historic low, according to founder and CEO Lee Biggins.

“We know that employers across the retail industry are struggling and this is having an impact on the pay packets they’re able to push out to potential new hires…”

The BRC, meanwhile, said it expected the long-term decline in employment to continue due to a combined effect of the ongoing structural change [in retail], weak consumer spending and fierce competition in the industry.

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