The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has today published its first of three reports on the state of the retail economy up to 2020 and beyond. 

The report finds that, amongst other things, the impact of increasing investment in digital infrastructure has resulted in the net profitability of the industry decreasing. Around 15% of retail sales are conducted online. There are approximately 40,000 fewer shops than there were in 2006 and the BRC predicts that a further 70,000 will close by 2020. 

The changes in technology, as well as increase in costs, could lead to the numbers employed in the retail sector continuing to fall. 

Could the Government's proposals to devolve the power to extend Sunday trading hours to local councils revive the industry...? We shall wait and see.