Market Overview

UK Retail Sector Lost 85,000 Jobs In Q3: Report

UK Retail Sector Lost 85,000 Jobs In Q3: Report

The United Kingdom retail sector lost 85,000 more jobs in the third quarter compared to the previous year, according to a report from trade association British Retail Consortium (BRC).

What Happened

In the report, called Retail Employment Monitor, BRC said the British retail sector is contending with rising minimum rage rules, rental costs, and business rates, tax on properties used for business. These issues are piling up in addition to pressures around Brexit and increasing competition from online retailers.

The severe operating conditions have led to declining hours worked among employees in the retail sector, the report showed, and the trade group expects the trend to continue. Despite this, 62% of the UK retailers said they plan to employ more staff in the fourth quarter.

BRC said it was the 15th straight quarter of year-over-year decline in retail employment. Full-time jobs took the biggest hit after dropping by 4.5% year-over-year, while part-time employment declined by 1.5%.

The group’s chief executive Helen Dickinson called on the UK government to bring reforms to business rates and the apprenticeship levy so retailers can better innovate and improve their digital footprint.

"The government should enact policies that enable retailers to invest more in the millions of people who choose to build their careers in retail,” Dickinson said to BBC.

Several UK companiesincluding Kingfisher Plc (OTC: KGFHY), Boots UK Ltd, and British Lands (OTC: BTLCY) — have said weakness in the retail sector is taking its toll on their businesses.

What's Next

In May, real estate investment trust British Land announced a full-year loss of 319 million pounds, saying the challenging retail landscape was to blame. 

Likewise, Kingfisher said in September that its half-year results were weakened by “disappointing” sales in the U.K. due to weak customer demand.


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