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Retail Vacancies down 21.6% year on year as high street suffers

With regular news about retailers facing administration and profit warnings aplenty, it is perhaps no surprise that the number of advertised vacancies in the retail sector is down 21.6% year on year, falling from an average of 31,007 in July 2017, to just 24,400 in June 2018.

Meanwhile average salaries are growing slowly in absolute terms at a rate of 0.4% year on year, but are far behind the overall salary growth across the country of 2.3%. This is particularly worrying as retail salaries are already low at an average of £27,220 against a national average of £33,546.

Given the recent collapse of BHS, Toys R Us, Poundworld, and Maplin amongst others, and the profit warnings issued by John Lewis and Debenhams, this is no surprise.

These retailers have been hit by a combination of declining real wages across the country and rising consumer debts, making shoppers less keen to reach into their pockets.

However with technological changes pushing more money online, it is not all bad news for the job market, with Logistics and Warehouse jobs on the rise, as well as IT jobs, as ecommerce takes a greater hold on the job market.

But traditional high street retail is changing rapidly, with shop assistant vacancies down 19.1% year on year, and department store staff down an eye-watering 70%. In their place, a series of businesses focused on the leisure and hospitality industries are springing up to take their place, such as the mini golf business that is taking over the old BHS store on Oxford Street.

To find out the truth behind these numbers, download our special report on the retail sector here.