However, the organisation claims the mass workforce reduction will result in the remaining staff receiving higher earnings for their positions, which will be more productive.The BRC cautioned that weaker regions with low paid staff are at the most risk, with store closures on high streets nationwide to worsen employment conditions. Meanwhile, small businesses were highlighted in the findings as a sector that would be affected by the industry’s evolution due to fewer options when it comes to rising costs. “Individual retailers will find their own paths to 2020 and beyond but from an industry perspective, we hope to see technology and competition resulting in better experiences for the customer and better jobs for those working in retail,” said Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive. The BRC report included recommendations for the government to acknowledge to support companies and workers, including: • Rebalance the burden of taxation, by fundamentally reforming the business rates system • Ensure the remit of the Low Pay Commission is strengthened and clarified with regard to the National Living Wage • Greater employer leadership of the apprenticeship levy including more discretion for employers over how and where it is spent
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Former Dragons’ Den investor Theo Paphitis, chairman of Ryman Stationery and Robert Dyas, added: “What this report shows is that without a major re-think by the government around the business rates system and the apprenticeship levy, together with careful consideration of the National Living Wage, the trading conditions for retail are set to worsen significantly.“The most vulnerable people and places will be impacted and we are keen to play our part in implementing these policies, but the government will need to work hard to mitigate their impact.” By Zen Terrelonge
The BRC report comes following Real Business’ interview with new startups in the retail space which explained the challenges of entering an age-old market, even though the services developed were to support and simplify business operations for long-standing retailers.
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