Retail employment was up 2.1% in the third quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year.

According to the British Retail Consortium there were 12,746 more retail jobs over the period, driven by a 4.2% rise in the number of new shops opened in the third quarter.

The BRC-Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor said that 61% of retailers planned to increase staffing levels in the next three months, compared with 54% this time last year.

No retailers said they were planning to cut staff in the next three months, compared to 8% who said they would last year.

The retail labour market outperformed all other sectors of the economy throughout the recession and continues to do so in the recovery, according to the report.

The number of redundancies as a proportion of the overall retail workforce remains very low in comparison to other sectors. However, the report said the retail redundancy rate was likely to rise following the spending review announcement of a likely 490,000 jobs to be lost in the public sector over the next four years.

The report said that the impact of the potential losses on consumer confidence was as yet unknown, but added that there were significant challenges ahead for the retail sector and the wider economy. 

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “British retail is the engine room of economic recovery. This is the tenth consecutive month of retail employment growth, which is an impressive effort in tough trading conditions.

“At a time of economic uncertainty, and with half-a-million public jobs due to be lost by 2014, this is up-to-the-minute evidence that retailers are continuing to invest in new premises and people.”

He added: “The recovery remains fragile and continuing growth should not be taken for granted. Rightly, the Government has shown resolve, with the public spending cuts part of its plan for the country. It must be equally committed to promoting the private sector-led growth it knows is needed.”

The BRC monitor includes large and small retailers in the non-food and food sectors.