Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium: 

“Retailers are continuing to reduce labour requirements to support a reinvention in how retail and shopping works. Hours worked by employees on full time contracts dropped more sharply this quarter as retailers seek greater flexibility in their workforces to cope with the pressure felt from the diverging costs of labour versus technology.

“The retail industry stands ready to work in partnership with government to upskill the retail workforce as the transformation of retail continues and digital skills become more crucial. Less rigidity and more flexibility as well as future thinking by the government in how Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used would facilitate more positive change more quickly.”