Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium: 

“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.

“Policy makers can play their part by reforming the current business rates system, which places a disproportionate burden on retailers, who pay 25% of the total rates bill despite making up a much smaller proportion of the economy.”