Exports minister Graham Stuart MP has announced a series of new measures to support businesses in the consumer and retail industry to export overseas as part of efforts to help the sector recover from COVID-19.
The new measures will offer immediate support to businesses by ensuring specialists provide advice on online retail and international marketplaces.
Additionally, the launch of a new Consumer and Retail Export Academy will provide businesses with the knowledge, skills and networks needed to increase exports. The plan will also outline long-term support for the sector as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
E-commerce will be “at the heart” of the plans, with measures tailored to help consumer and retail businesses develop international, multi-channel, e-commerce strategies fit for the changed retail environment.
The value of retail sales made online has risen by more than 300% in the last ten years. This trend is expected to continue as a result of COVID-19, with many UK businesses already experiencing increased sales online.
“We recognise that coronavirus has brought challenges to many industries, not least the consumer and retail sector, where so much depends on face-to-face interactions,” said Stuart. “This package of support will give businesses the helping hand they need to adapt their methods and thrive in the future.
“More trade and investment is absolutely critical if the industry – and our whole economy – is to overcome such challenges. These measures provide both short and long-term support for businesses that employ so many people across the UK.
“As we continue to encourage businesses to increase their trade overseas, we will also ensure that they can take full advantage of the opportunities that will be unlocked through our negotiation of Free Trade Agreements with countries around the world.”
The retail industry contributed £104 billion of GVA to the UK economy in 2019, with the value of retail sales reaching £395bn in 2019, a 3.8% increase from 2018.
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