The government has given the green light to the creation of a National Skills Academy (NSA) to offer training and business support to retailers.
Skills Minister David Lammy MP said the new scheme, which would set up a network of Skills Shops across the UK, would "play a pivotal role in helping to ensure the existing and future workforce has the right skills to meet the challenges facing the retail sector".
The NSA is expected to launch in February 2009 with the amalgamation of 30 existing independent Skills Shops with about 40 new ones, to open in phases over the next few years.
The Skills Shops will be located in high streets and shopping centres and offer services including pre-employment training, qualifications, advice, placements, work experience and store management programmes for anyone interested in joining or progressing further in retail.
They will also offer support to small retailers.