Home / Knowledge / News / Retail / UK retail employment falls for 16th consecutive quarter

UK retail employment falls for 16th consecutive quarter

Jan '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
In Q4 2019, the total number of retail employees in the UK fell by 1.8 per cent year-on-year, the 16th consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline in the retail workforce, proof that the transformation in the retail industry is ongoing. However, the rate of decline was lower when compared to Q4 2018 when employment fell by 2.8 per cent.

While full-time employment fell by 3.0 per cent, part-time employment fell by 1.2 per cent during the three-month period, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said in its Retail Employment Monitor Q4 2019.

When 1.8 per cent decline in retail employees year-on-year (Q4 2018 vs Q4 2019) is applied to the ONS Q4 2018 figure of 3,183,000 employees, job losses since Q4 2018 equates to 57,000. It should be noted that employment in Q4 is higher than other quarters due to the seasonal nature of retail. 

At 0.2 per cent, store growth was the lowest since Q4 2016, and below the 2018 comparable figure of 2.3 per cent, according to the Retail Employment Monitor. 

In the coming quarter, 38 per cent of retailers planned on hiring fewer employees, slightly above 29 per cent the previous year. Retailers will be reducing their workforce, which was temporarily increased over Christmas. However, eight per cent of retailers indicated plans to increase staff in the coming quarter (compared to 14 per cent in Q4 2018). 

"Following figures showing 2019 was the worst year on record for retail sales growth, it comes as no surprise that retail shed the equivalent of 57,000 jobs compared to Q4 last year. There were many challenges in 2019: businesses had to contend with the repeated risk of no deal Brexit, a general election and the ongoing transformation of the industry, leading to weak consumer demand. As a result, employment has suffered in retail, the UK’s largest private sector employer," BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

"This matters—retail offers many people their first job, a range of flexible working options, and huge opportunities for progression. Retailers may be investing heavily in their workers, through training and apprenticeships, but more could be done. The current inflexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy system means that much essential training is not covered, limiting the opportunities for many working in the industry.

“Moreover, it is worrying that the Government is standing by while tens of thousands of jobs are being lost. If the same was true in manufacturing or aviation, one can be sure that the Government would act. There are opportunities for action and the Government’s review of business rates could not come at a more crucial time. It is essential that they reform this broken system and rectify a tax that sees retail, which accounts for 5 per cent of the economy, pay 25 per cent of the burden,” Dickinson added.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RKS)

Must ReadView All

Pic: IFC

Apparel/Garments | On 15th Apr 2021

IFC to support Haiti in revamping garment sector

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting the garment...

Pic: Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

Textiles | On 15th Apr 2021

US textiles & apparel imports down 6.98% in Jan-Feb 2021

The import of textiles and apparel by the United States decreased by...

Pic: Shutterstock

E-commerce | On 15th Apr 2021

Vietnam companies get Amazon boost to turn into brands

The Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS) and Amazon have...

Interviews View All

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Blockchains will be in heavy use by early adopters by 2025

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Fashion tech has to be lean and very productive

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Good tidings expected for textile industry

Vikram Juneja,

Vikram Juneja

Jaquard is a training institute providing a highly specialised training...

Chini Chouhan,

Chini Chouhan

Founded by Chini Chouhan, her eponymous brand specialises in women's...

Nina Smith,

Nina Smith

GoodWeave International, a nonprofit working to end child, forced and...

Frank Heislitz, Freudenberg

Frank Heislitz

Freudenberg Performance Materials is a leading global manufacturer of...

Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA

Jacques Prigneaux

EDANA has been the leading global association and voice of the nonwovens...

Giulio Cesareo, Directa Plus

Giulio Cesareo
Directa Plus

UK-based Directa Plus is one of the largest producers and suppliers...

Sailesh Singhania, Sailesh Singhania Label

Sailesh Singhania
Sailesh Singhania Label

The Sailesh Singhania label was created to promote handwoven sarees and...

Sneha Arora, Label Sneha Arora

Sneha Arora
Label Sneha Arora

Sneha Arora, an alumnus of National Institute of Fashion Technology,...

Megha Kumari & Jigar Mali, Label Megha & Jigar

Megha Kumari & Jigar Mali
Label Megha & Jigar

New Delhi based label Megha & Jigar blends India's unique handcrafts...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies


Leave your Comments

April 2021

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

Advanced Search