Retail employment grew 2.1% in the third quarter, creating 12,746 jobs in the sector, the BRC-Bond Pearce Employment Monitor shows.

In terms of job creation, retail “outperformed all other sectors of the economy throughout the recession and continues to do so in the recovery”, the study found.

Although growth has slowed since the last quarter when the rate of growth was 3.6%, in September it increased 4.9% - the 10th consecutive monthly rise.

Store openings drove the increase in jobs. This was a 4.2% rise in new space, or 652 new shops. Retailers indicated they felt more positive about Christmas, and 61% plan to increase staffing levels in the current period compared with only 54% at the same point last year.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “British retail is the engine room of economic recovery.”