UK retail jobs boom


shopping-windowJobs in the UK retail sector are being created at the fastest pace for 12 years, as figures showed resilient trading in the run up to Christmas.

The CBI’s distributive trades report, released on Wednesday, found a greater percentage of retailers said they would take on extra staff in the year to December rather than not, giving a balance of plus 16 per cent, the highest since May 2002.

It also said sales volumes were resilient this month, at plus 27 per cent, although slightly below expectations of plus 31 per cent.

However, the squeeze on high street prices continued, with a balance of plus 12 per cent of retailers saying that average selling prices were rising at their slowest pace since May 2009.

The strongest volume sales performers were grocers, furniture and carpet sellers, and hardware and DIY stores, with clothing and specialist food and drink retailers lagging behind.

Retailers are preparing for Black Friday later this week when stores and online retailers offer discounts in a bid to kick start Christmas trading.

“It’s no secret that it has been a demanding year for the retail industry, but shopkeepers haven’t been pulling their punches when it comes to getting shoppers through their doors – borne out with the lowest essential item inflation in five years and growing online sales,” survey chairman Barry Williams, who is Asda’s chief merchandising officer for food, said.

Official figures this month put Consumer Price Index inflation at 1.3 per cent, while pay, excluding bonuses, also hit 1.3 per cent.

Economists were encouraged by this, as pay has lagged behind inflation for the last six years.



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