The latest ONS figures show that Retail lost 79,000 jobs between Q1 2019 and Q1 2018 (a 2.5% decline). This compares to a gain of 589,000 jobs in the UK as a whole (or a 1.7% rise).
Responding to the ONS release, Kyle Monk, Head of Retail Insight and Analytics at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said, “It has been a turbulent year, with many well-known brands disappearing from our high streets, as has been evidenced by the substantial loss in retail jobs this quarter.
'Political and economic uncertainty has compounded many of the challenges created by the pace of technological change.
“Nonetheless, retail remains the largest private employer in the UK, offering over 3 million jobs, or almost 9% of the total jobs in the UK economy. Many of the retail employment opportunities are offered in economically marginal areas and are taken by people who need to be able to work flexible hours and near to home.
“Sky high business rates have made it harder for shops to make much-needed investments in their physical and digital offerings.'
Monk concluded, 'It is time for the Government to act; indeed if they were as fast to act over the tens of thousands of retail jobs that have been lost in the last year as they are over smaller losses in manufacturing, then we might see a revival of our high streets, and the communities they support.”