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Retail jobs climb

jlpcollectThe equivalent number of full-time retail jobs rose by 1.8% in the first quarter of 2014, driven by non-food stores.

Improvements in confidence continued to rise in the non-food sector, which contributed disproportionately to the number of full-time jobs created in the first quarter of 2014, according to the British Retail Consortium. Growth of full-time hours outpaced part-time highlighting rising confidence particularly in non-food retail.

'The importance of retail's contribution to the economy is underlined again by this encouraging growth in jobs. As the UK's largest private employer, it's also particularly heartening to see increases across all types of role, including full-time hires. This demonstrates increasing confidence,' says Helen Dickinson, BRC director general.

'Non-food retailers have performed particularly well this quarter for employment. With strong growth in full-time staff in this category, it is clear that the impact of more positive sales results and better economic conditions is unlocking increased investment.'

Christina Tolvas-Vincent, head of retail employment at business law firm Bond Dickinson, says: 'Retailers certainly seem to be on the road to recovery with growth dominating the figures this quarter. The increase in full time jobs is particularly heartening, demonstrating a longer term confidence and mirroring improvements in the UK labour market overall.

'In a departure from recent years where food retailers have underpinned any growth in retail employment, non-food retailers have actually driven the increase in full time jobs. It looks like the recovery has finally started to be felt outside of the supermarkets.

'The outlook for future employment looks positive – the vast majority of retailers intend to either keep staffing levels the same or increase them, again reflecting a theme of expectation of better times to come. The proportion planning to decrease jobs has more than halved and redundancy levels are way down.'

In the first quarter of 2014, the number of outlets rose by 1.3%, driven entirely by food retailers.