Equivalent number of UK full-time retail jobs rose 1.8% year-over-year in 2014 as number of retail outlets rose by 1.3%, driven entirely by food retailers: BRC

LONDON , April 28, 2014 (press release) – The equivalent number of full-time jobs rose by 1.8% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period last year adding strength to recent improvements in the overall UK labour market.

In the first quarter of 2014, the number of outlets rose by 1.3%, driven entirely by food retailers.

Improvements in confidence continued to rise in the non-food sector which contributed disproportionately to the number of full-time jobs created in the first quarter of 2014.

Growth of full-time hours outpaced part-time highlighting rising confidence particularly in non-food retail.

Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, 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.

"Non-food retailers have performed particularly well this quarter for employment. With strong growth in full-time staff in this category, it is clear that the impact of more positive sales results and better economic conditions is unlocking increased investment.

"Those joining a retailer for the first time can look forward to a career with fantastic opportunities in an industry with an enviable record for training and development. With retailers providing such welcome career options, right in the heart of local communities across the UK, there is much to celebrate in today's figures."

Christina Tolvas-Vincent, Head of Retail Employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, said: "Retailers certainly seem to be on the road to recovery with growth dominating the figures this quarter. The increase in full time jobs is particularly heartening, demonstrating a longer term confidence and mirroring improvements in the UK labour market overall.

"In a departure from recent years where food retailers have underpinned any growth in retail employment, non-food retailers have actually driven the increase in full time jobs. It looks like the recovery has finally started to be felt outside of the supermarkets.

"The outlook for future employment looks positive – the vast majority of retailers intend to either keep staffing levels the same or increase them, again reflecting a theme of expectation of better times to come. The proportion planning to decrease jobs has more than halved and redundancy levels are way down.

"The only blot on the buoyant landscape appears to be a fall in hours worked amongst food retailers, despite a growth in store numbers. An increasing trend of smaller stores would support this but it will be interesting to see how these figures play out in the extremely competitive world of food retail."

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