The number of hours worked was also down, with a 3.2% year-on-year decline. The trade body attributed this to the “structural change” the industry had been experiencing.
Some 75% of respondents to the BRC’s survey said they intended to retain staffing levels while 12.5% said they would be increasing staffing levels. A further 12.5% said they would be reducing the number of staff, compared with 14% last year.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, said: “Our latest employment figures show how the retail industry is going through a continued period of significant transition. The expected further rises in business rates and employment costs are contributing to the pressure on retailers to close stores and reduce job numbers further.
“Despite this, the future for retail is a positive one. Retailers are investing in technology and innovation which are transforming the retail experience for customers, and the industry has a vision for better retail jobs in the future that will improve productivity and provide quality employment opportunities for people across the UK.”