Retail recruiting positive for first time since 2004, says CBI
Wed, 30 May 2012
The balance of retailers who were recruiting more staff in May was the strongest (+12%) in any month since February 2003, reveals the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI’s) ‘Distributive Trades Survey’, conducted across the first two weeks of May.
Overall, the proportion of retailers who added to their headcount in May was 12 percentage points higher than the number who reduced staff. This +12% figure is the first positive reading since 2004, albeit that that was a +1% balance that a CBI spokesperson says “we would call almost flat”, and the highest since February 2003, when the rate was also +12%.
Sales volumes also rose strongly, but were still seen to be below average for the time of the year.
While recognising the results as “encouraging” overall, Judith McKenna, chair of the CBI Distributive Trades panel, also the chief operation officer of supermarket ASDA notes: “Sales are still below the average for the time of year and the combination of high unemployment, slow wage growth and weak consumer confidence means that the retail sector is likely to remain under pressure in the short term.”