A Retail Sector Council has been launched by Retail Minister Andrew Griffiths and Richard Pennycook, chairman of Fenwick, The Hut Group and Howden Joinery Group, to act as a “champion for future growth”.

The industry-led council will meet regularly with representatives of the retail sector to discuss the challenges the industry faces, and will seek to encourage growth and positive change in the sector as it adapts to rapidly changing consumer habits.

Retail Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “The UK’s retail sector is undergoing rapid structural changes with consumers increasingly favouring online shopping and rising operating costs for retailers.

“Our new collaborative Retail Sector Council will bring government and industry together to look at how best to ensure the industry adapts to meet the changing demands of consumers.”

The council, which includes senior management from Amazon, Asos and other renowned retailers and the British Retail Consortium, will review how best retailers could adapt to changing consumer behaviour, the business environment and opportunities such as the development of new technologies to improve customer service, the chances to grow skills through a sector push on high-value training and ways to boost sector productivity and its economic health.

Richard Pennycook, co-chair of the Retail Sector Council, added: “I am delighted to be co-chairing the first Retail Sector Council, which comes at a moment of unprecedented change for our sector. Retail is one of the largest private sector employers in the country, and the Council will provide strategic oversight of the challenges we are facing by seeking positive change and increased productivity.

“We will be working together with industry and government to deliver our vision for the future of retail.”

The Retail Sector Council members are: Griffiths and Pennycook, as well as: Doug Gurr, UK country manager, Amazon; Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership; Elizabeth Fagan, senior vice president, managing director Boots UK and ROI; Nick Beighton, chief executive of ASOS; Ursula Lidbetter, chief executive of Lincolnshire Cooperative; John Hannett, general secretary of Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers; Diane Savory, chair of GFirst LEP; Victoria Robertshaw, chief executive of Keelham Farm Shop; Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium; and James Lowman, chief executive of Association of Convenience Stores.

 

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