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There are around 14,010 retail businesses in Wales and 83% of those employ less than 10 people. Employment within the Welsh retail sector is around 141,000 people, which accounts for around 10% of all jobs.

Between 2007 and 2017, 9,000 new retail jobs are expected to be created in Wales, while a further 57,000 jobs will need to be filled as a result of people leaving the sector. This means that there is a total requirement of 66,000 people.

Retail establishments in Wales account for 5% of all retail establishments in the UK. The number of retail establishments in Wales increased between 2007 and 2008 by 5.9%. Approximately four out of five retailers in Wales are micro-businesses employing fewer than 10 people. There are only 75 retail establishments in Wales that employ more than 250 staff.

St Davids in Cardiff is commonly known to be the largest retail development in Wales, together with the Eagles Meadow Centre in Wrexham.

Workforce key statistics:

  • Sales and customer services accounts for 49% of the total retail employment in Wales.
  • The next largest occupational group within the retail sector includes those employed in managerial and senior positions (16%), then 14% in elementary occupations.
  • 49% of the workforce is employed full-time.
  • 57% is female
  • 17% is 16-19 years old, 16% 20-24 years old and 16% is 55-69 years old.
  • Asians and British Asians account for 1% of the Welsh retail workforce.
  • 12% of the workforce is disabled.

Vacancies statistics:

  • 17% of retailers in Wales have at least one staff vacancy.
  • Micro retail establishments (those employing less than 10 members of staff) account for 29% of all retail employment, but for 37% of all those claim to have vacancies.
  • 7% of all retailers in Wales report at least one hard-to-fill vacancy.

Skill gaps statistics:

  • 20% of retailers in Wales are reported to have skill gaps
  • In terms of the number of employees, 8% of retail workers in Wales had skills gaps.
  • Retailers in Wales indicated that machine operatives (15%), sales and customer service (9%) and elementary (8%) staff were the three occupations most likely to demonstrate skill gaps.
  • Customer handling skills (68%), problem solving skills (63%) and communication skills (54%) are the three main areas that need improving amongst retail employees reported to have skills gaps.

Source: Wales National Background Brief 2008