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Retail employment up in first quarter

The number of people employed by Britain’s retail sector grew modestly in the first quarter of the year, highlighting a fragile recovery on the high street, figures today reveal.

The statistics from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Bond Pearce show that retail employment rose by 0.4 per cent compared with the same quarter a year earlier, the equivalent of 3,011 more full-time jobs.

The increase was driven by food retailers and was mainly accounted for by part-time workers. The number of retail outlets grew by 4.9 per cent over the three-month period.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said the figures were “encouraging” but warned that news the UK was back in recession highlighted “just how fragile any growth is”.

“None of these jobs can be taken for granted,” he said.

“Retailers are more positive about their immediate employment intentions than a year ago, but the GDP figures confirm 2012 will still be very tough for businesses and households.”

Monthly figures show that retail employment fell in January but bounced back in February and March.

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