Retail job losses hit 12-year peak

Retailers are cutting jobs at the fastest rate for 12 years, according to new research by the CBI.

Retailers cut jobs over the year to February at the fastest rate since 1992, reflecting the fierce pressure sales and prices are now under in this sector.

Whereas 15% of retailers said they were employing more people than a year ago, 33% said employment was down. The balance of minus 18% is the lowest since November 1992.

CBI chief economic adviser, Ian McCafferty, said: “Weak consumer demand for goods means, so far this year, retailers have suffered minimal sales growth and falling prices.

“It may be that high levels of personal debt, coupled with stagnant house prices, mean interest rate hikes have a bigger and quicker effect now than was the case in the 1970s, 80s and 90s,” he said.

“Consumers are also concerned about rising fuel prices and council taxes.”

However, McCafferty also said that retailers expected a return to modest sales growth in the immediate future, suggesting they believe that consumer confidence will hold up.

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