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Decline in retail job vacancies as competition increases

The number of jobs available in the UK retail sector has dropped by 14% in the past year, according to the latest Retail Employment Insight report from job site RetailChoice.com.

Competition for positions has continued to rise and retail job vacancies are now back down to 2009 recessionary levels, the report showed.

Visual merchandisers, general retail staff and management positions all suffered in the first half of this year, with jobs falling by 30%, 26% and 20% respectively.

Applications for each general management position rose 19% year-on-year. The report stated this highlights the fierce competition in the retail jobs market.

The only job in the retail sector to show growth this year was marketing, rising marginally by 2%.

"The move towards fewer, smaller, more connected and experience-driven stores is imposing natural limits on the numbers of retail roles on the high street," said Neil Brodie, commercial director, RetailChoice.com.

Regional differences

The report also found retail job opportunities varied largely throughout the country with openings heavily biased towards the South East of England, most notably in London.

In the first six months of 2013, there were 8,300 retail jobs available in London compared to only 849 in Manchester, 529 in Birmingham and 192 in Liverpool and Merseyside.

However, despite the large amount of jobs available in London, this number has still declined by over 1,200 from last year, the report showed.

Salaries in London are up 4.2% from last year. Outside of London salaries have risen by 1.3%, which is lower than inflation.

Brodie blamed falling revenues, high rental charges and store closures for the reduction in hiring opportunities.

"From the smaller independents to the global brands, retailers are re-thinking their routes to market and re-evaluating their business models, and it's having a major impact on recruitment," he said.