Retail jobs growth in Q1

The number of full-time jobs in the retail sector increased 1.8% in the first quarter of 2014, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The growth was driven by a 1.3% increase in the number of food retail stores over the period. Growth in full-time jobs is now outpacing part-time job creation, again spurred by non-food retailers.

Key findings from the BRC's latest survey:

  • 17% of retailers expect to recruit more staff over the coming quarter
  • 8% of retailers plan to decrease staff count, down from 20% in the previous quarter
  • three quarters plan to keep staff levels the same over the next quarter
  • redundancies fell to their lowest level in Q1 2014 since July 2011.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said:

"The importance of retail's contribution to the economy is underlined again by this encouraging growth in jobs. As the UK's largest private employer, it's also particularly heartening to see increases across all types of role, including full-time hires. This demonstrates increasing confidence."

The BRC's findings came as the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) announced strong sales figures for Q1 2014 and reported the highest levels of confidence among its members since 2009.

BIRA's latest quarterly survey found:

  • seven in 10 members are confident for the year ahead
  • 56% of member reported higher sales in Q1 2014 than Q1 2013
  • BIRA's confidence measure increased from 63% in Q4 2013 to 70% in Q1 2014, the highest level since 2009.

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