During the third quarter of 2012, small retailers helped boost employment levels in the sector.
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Bond Pearce Retail Employment Monitor Q3 2012, which was released today (October 25th), retail employment rose by 2.9 per cent over the period.
This is the fastest rate of growth seen in the sector in two years and is the equivalent of 20,533 additional full-time jobs.
It is thought that this increase was driven, in part, by part-time workers and the grocery sector.
Job levels in small shops across the country look set to keep increasing because 68 per cent of the retailers polled by the BRC intend to hire more staff in the run-up to Christmas.
Stephen Robertson, director of the BRC, said: "With good news about employment generally, signs that disposable incomes, consumer spending and inflation are moving in the right direction and expectations that we're about to see GDP growth return to positive territory, there's a sense that things could be getting better.
"That offers hope as the crucial Christmas trading period gathers pace."
In fact, the Office for National Statistics revealed the UK's GDP grew by 1.0 per cent during the third quarter, partly due to ticket sales for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Mr Robertson added that it is important not to get too carried away by these figures as all the growth in job and store numbers is coming from the food sector.
As a result, the BRC is calling on the government to support stronger and more widespread growth in the retail industry by freezing business rates next April to avoid more boarded up shops and fewer employment opportunities, especially for young people.
In general, employment levels across the UK have improved, according to the ONS.
The ONS revealed last week that employment rates reached 71.3 per cent in August.
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