The number of people working in retail will drop by almost 1 million over the next decade as stores close and new technologies displace many existing roles.

So says The British Retail Consortium, which represents many of the UK’s largest retailers, in its Retail 2020: Fewer but Better Jobs report.

It says rising costs due to the National Living Wage and the new apprenticeship levy could speed up job cuts while of the 270,000 shops in the UK today, up to 74,000 could shut over the next decade.

It says there could be 900,000 fewer jobs in retail by 2025 but those that remain will be more productive and higher earning.

The retail sector generated £340bn of sales in 2015 and is the largest private sector employer in the UK, with 3 million people working in the industry.

The 20-page report can be downloaded for free from the British Retail Consortium’s website.