– Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium
The fact that total employment edged up during this quarter, driven by part-time workers, is a shaft of light against an otherwise challenging backdrop.
It shows that, despite relentlessly tough times, retailers are continuing to invest in people and support job creation as much as they can.
But the record drop in store numbers is stark evidence that this investment should not be taken for granted. We're by no means out of the woods yet, and given the administrations of recent weeks, the next quarter's figures are likely to make difficult reading.
Around 50 per cent of retailers will shed jobs in the first quarter of 2013, according to research by the British Retail Consortium. The number of shops fell by almost 600 last month even before the recent collapse of a raft of High Street names.