85,000 retail jobs axed in the past year

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// Retailers axed 85,000 jobs in the past year
// Weak consumer demand & Brexit uncertainty has placed pressure on businesses
// This marks the 15th consecutive quarter of decline in employment

Retailers have cut 85,000 jobs in the past year thanks to weak consumer demand, increased bills and the rise in online shopping.

The BRC has called for an overhaul on business rates as it outlined its Retail Employment Monitor covering the third quarter of the year.

This marks the 15th consecutive quarter of decline in employment – with both full-time and part-time workers hit, according to findings by the BRC.


“We have seen a persistent downwards trend in retail employment over the past three years, with the third-quarter fall of 2.8 per cent equivalent to a loss of 85,000 people across the UK retail industry in the preceding 12 months,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

Ministers have offered to inject £1 billion into the Future High Streets Fund, which is set up to support struggling town centres to reinvent themselves.

“While MPs rail against job losses in manufacturing, their response to larger losses in retail has remained muted,” Dickinson said.

“The government should enact policies that enable retailers to invest more in the millions of people who choose to build their careers in retail.

“In order to promote innovation, training and productivity, government must reform both the broken business rates system, and the inflexibilities of the apprenticeship levy.”

“Weak consumer demand and Brexit uncertainty continue to put pressure on retailers already focused on delivering the transformation taking place in the industry,” she said.

Just last week, fashion retailer Bonmarché collapsed into administration, putting nearly 3000 jobs at risk, weeks after hundreds of jobs were lost at Karen Millen and Coast, which closed all their stores and shifted to online.

Department store chain Debenhams, which fell into administration in April this year, said it will close more than 20 stores in January.

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