It's not about the tech
While El Reg is playing up the tech angle on this story, the reason the report was comissioned and then pushed so hard in the press is the retail industry moaning about paying a living wage. The large number of jobs to go is Tesco etc way of saying "We want to carry on paying less than people need to live on and letting the state cover the gap."
Ask anyone who works for a big retailer and you'll find that the HR department has worked out exactly how many hours can be worked without disrupting benefit payments. Essentially, we are all subsidising the big retailers. If I were a cynic, I'd suggest that this is because they have our government in their pocket.