Nearly one million jobs in the UK's retail sector could be lost by 2025, one of the sector's leading organisations has warned.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said things like the National Living Wage and the apprenticeship levy will increase costs for retailers to untenable levels.
They are two of the policies announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget last year. The BRC's report said "both have sound intentions but both could fail on implementation".
BRC chairman, Sir Charlie Mayfield, who is also head of the John Lewis Parternship, said that while the body welcomes high pay, it will have an undoubted affect on jobs, with 900,000 set to go by 2025. That would represent roughly a third of all jobs in the sector being lost.
The report claimed that around 74,000 of the UK's 270,000 retail shops could close as a result of higher costs and changes in the way people shop, with nearly a third of these coming in Wales and north England.
Sir Charlie said: "People are not realising just how significantly the workplace is changing and I think that is dangerous.
"It means that people assume that somehow things are going to carry on as they are, when that's unlikely.
"Some of the places that will be affected will be some of the most economically fragile."
April will see the introduction of the National Living Wage, where employers will have to pay over-25s at least £7.20 per hour, 50p more than the current minimum wage. That figure will rise to £9 by 2020. The BRC estimates this will cost the retail industry around £3 billion a year.