The retail sector has rallied to deliver the “best result” in terms of job creation since 2009, indicating that consumer recovery is gathering pace.

Retail employment grew 3.7% in the second quarter against the same period last year, representing the sixth consecutive quarter of job growth and the strongest rise since December 2009, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Bond Dickinson Retail Employment Monitor.

Both food and non-food retailers contributed to the performance, but the latter indicated a more positive outlook as it showed a stronger increase to the hours worked by full-time employees against part-time.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “This is the best result we’ve seen for retail jobs since 2009. While we know that there is considerable regional variation in retail performance and footfall, these new jobs provide further evidence that a consumer recovery is starting to take shape.” 

In addition, 16% of retailers intend to increase staffing levels in the next quarter, up from 13% in the same period last year. Meanwhile, 80% of retailers say they will keep staffing levels unchanged in the third quarter against 83% last year.

Store numbers increased 1.5% with all the additional 263 stores driven by food retailers, which are investing in smaller-format convenience stores.