Around 70,000 UK retail jobs were lost last year as the UK high street continues to decline, according to a report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The report, Retail Employment Monitor, indicated retail employment fell 2.2% during the last quarter of 2018 and the total hours worked fell by 2.9%. The hours worked by full-time and part-time retail staff was reduced and nearly a third of UK retail businesses plan to cut jobs over the next coming months with frontline staff jobs to decline further in the next 10 years.
This follows reports of Christmas 2018 retail sales suffering as consumers continued to tighten their spending habits and shopped online rather than on the high street.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The retail industry is undergoing a profound change and the latest employment data underpins those trends. Technology is changing both the way consumers shop, but also the types of jobs that exist in retail.
“While we expect the number of frontline staff to fall over the next decade, there will be many new jobs created in areas such as digital marketing and artificial intelligence (AI). However, this transformation comes at a cost for retailers, who are already weighed down by the increasing costs of public policy, from sky-high business rates to rising minimum wage.”
This report came as John Lewis & Partners announced it is to close the Knight & Lee department store in Southsea, the smallest full-line shop in its estate.