The number of people working in Britain's high street shops was down by 23,000 in September compared with last year, new figures have revealed.
In the latest Retail Employment Monitor report, published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and business law firm Bond Pearce, retail employment was down by 0.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 on the same period in 2010.
This means there were the equivalent of 5,780 fewer full-time jobs over the three-month period, even though the number of retail outlets grew by 1,134 (2.3 per cent).
The decline in the number of full-time retail employees was driven by non-food retailers, the study explained.
Part-time workers experienced the largest decline in hours worked, while the growth in the number of stores was almost entirely driven by grocery outlets.
Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, commented: "With consumer spending now in recession and retail sales volumes declining, this is the biggest drop in overall retail employment in the two years since we began this survey. Redundancy rates are thankfully low but many retailers are not filling every vacancy.
"Uncertainty and fears about Christmas trading may also be leading retailers to delay taking on this year's seasonal staff – with that reluctance compounded by the new Agency Workers rules."
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