Retailing is the largest private sector employer in the UK and is recognised as one the world’s most competitive and cutting edge industries.
UK retail has a global outreach. Not only does it have successful stores abroad but it also attracts many global brands to set up their flagship stores in the UK. Comprising a wide variety of professions and employing over 3 million people, the industry plays a hugely important role in regeneration and supporting the UK economy. A continual priority for the industry is the need to identify and fully exploit all sales channels. Recently, retail websites have become more interactive and have seen strong growth, yet there is still much potential since internet sales account for less than 17 per cent of total sales. More specific targeting and a deeper understanding of the market, including keeping in touch with changing trends and consumer sensitivities, will be imperative to future growth in all areas.
Government austerity measures will have a heavy impact on the retailing industry, such as through the VAT increase and high property costs, as well as through consumers’ squeezed expenditure budgets. Working in partnership with the Government to secure appropriate business policies for the sector is a top priority.