from Ian Cheshire, chair of Skillsmart Retail

Sir; A recent report has warned that up to 150,000 jobs in the retail industry will be axed in the next five years after a collapse in consumer confidence. However, this figure, taken from Verdict Research, is only half the story.
The impact is an indication of an annual “loss” of 1% from the sector’s three million-strong UK workforce and doesn’t include any future expansion in the sector over the same period.
Many leading retailers have recently announced their plans for growth in the UK, with Tesco aiming to create 11,000 new jobs and The Carphone Warehouse 100 new stores in the next year alone. Mothercare will also be opening 60 new stores in the next three years and Ikea’s latest high street stores format will create 5,000 new jobs over the same period.
So these 150,000 jobs will not just disappear, as headlines suggest, but rather they will transfer to meet the needs of an evolving and expanding demand within the industry.
Retail is a dynamic, evolving sector that, in constantly changing, offers rewarding opportunities to skilled individuals who are committed to progression based on merit.
As the chair at Skillsmart Retail, I know that to move any retail business forward in the current climate, we must rely more than ever on a team of skilled and motivated people, and invest in a structured programme of skills cultivation.