Around 50 per cent of retailers said they planned to cut staffing levels in the next few months, with only 4% expecting to create jobs, according to a new survey.
There were also almost 600 fewer shops last month even before the recent collapse of a raft of High Street names, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
However, employment in the retail sector rose by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2012 compared with a year earlier, driven entirely by part-time workers, the study found.
The survey, covering 1.3 million workers at 25 major retailers, showed that Christmas was not a disaster for traders, but staffing levels were kept "modest".
More top news
Despite heralding the arrival of a record 130 foreign journalists North Korea is still carefully coordinating what the press can see.
The toddler died after suffering eight months of abuse at the hands of her legal guardian Kandyce Downer.
Most of the 150 child refugees in Calais Jungle have given up any hope of getting help from those in power so will PM's climbdown help?