Retail, wholesale and vehicle repair

Latest Dorset retail, wholesale and vehicle repair sector insights.

Skip Navigation Links

Retail, Wholesale and Vehicle Repair Dashboard

Employing over three million people and generating £394 billion worth of sales in UK, the retail industry is vital to the UK economy. Retail, wholesale and repair activity also represents a significant part of the Dorset economy, so whether you are looking for a customer-facing career or a position in a head office, the sector has plenty of opportunities, from customer care to generating sales, influencing trends and making strategic business decisions.

Explore the interactive dashboard below – click on the occupation bars to reveal salary, automation and education trends. Download a copy of the Retail, Wholesale and Vehicle Repair Dashboard.

Click on the arrow at the right-hand corner to view the dashboard in full and scroll through the pages.

Sectors Overview

Retail, wholesale and vehicle repair sectors employ 52,000 people locally, representing 16% of all employed in Dorset, which broadly matches the national profile. Retail alone employs 35,000 people making it the third largest sector in terms of employment in Dorset (after Healthcare and Accommodation & Food services).

The sectors contribute £1.9 billion per year to the Dorset economy marking a 19% growth over the past decade and representing 10% of the overall economy locally.

The largest sub-sector is retail (£1.02bn), followed by wholesale trade (£495mn) and repair of motor vehicles (£297mn).

Career Prospects

The retail sector remains under pressure due to COVID-19 restrictions accelerating the shift to online shopping and lower footfall in town centres. There is an overall decline in the number of vacancies throughout 2020 and lockdown measures have pushed fashion retailers such as New Look, Primark, M&S and Debenhams from the leading employers list in the sector and demand has shifted to food, DIY, home improvement and pharmacy retail.

For those looking for either casual work or long-term career in the sector, it still offers a range of opportunities with demand largely maintained for professional roles, while it has substantially declined in customer service and sales occupations.

Check the dashboard for latest occupations and skills in demand and explore Retail, Wholesale and Vehicle Repair pathways and Retail, Wholesale and Vehicle Repair career prospects in the sector.

Key Employers

There are around 4,700 retail and wholesale businesses in Dorset, with 2,500 of these involved in retail and a further 1,150 are involved in wholesale.

Most of the major retailers have a presence in Dorset and sectors such as food retail (supermarkets) continue to be major recruiters. Other businesses such as LUSH, Neal’s Yard Remedies, and Farrow and Ball also have their headquarters in the area.

Check the dashboard for the employers currently hiring.

Learning Opportunities

In 2018/19, there were around 1,300 apprenticeship starts in retail and commercial enterprise in Dorset with 630 apprenticeships completed during that year.

Browse apprenticeship opportunities in catering and hospitality near you