Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium: “This is the third consecutive quarter in which full-time equivalent employment among retailers has fallen, and the decline appears to be accelerating quarter-on-quarter as they seek productivity gains in a highly competitive market. While both food and non-food retailers saw a fall in FTE employment, the decline is most marked in food.

“We would expect this trend to continue. While we have yet to detect any clear impact from the Brexit referendum on sales, footfall or employment in the industry, inflationary pressures are unquestionably building due to impact of the weaker pound on import costs. As retailers look to keep prices low for customers they are likely to re-examine staffing levels, particularly as competition intensifies and cost pressures imposed by government continue to take their toll. However, retailers are also actively investing in existing staff to improve the quality of their jobs and productivity per employee.”