The UK Government has revealed that plans are in the works to aid the recovery of the retail sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown.
The ‘bounce-back’ plan will be a multi-faceted approach to help retailers get back on their feet.
This will include a heavy focus on both e-commerce and international exports, according to a release.
Exports minister Graham Stuart MP unveiled the plans, saying that experts in online retail and export will be on hand to advise businesses.
Additionally, the launch of a new Consumer and Retail Export Academy will provide businesses with the critical knowledge, skills and networks needed to increase exports.
The plan will also outline long-term support for the sector, said the government, as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
Graham Stuart MP commented: “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. 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.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for British Jewellery & Giftware International said: “Producing a series of fact sheets for specific markets to educate UK companies on opportunities and risks, is a welcome addition. This information will be hugely valuable notably by first time exporters.”
The range of measures to be offered can be found in full below:
- Consumer and Retail Export Academy: A digital learning syllabus of consumer & retail-focused webinars available through DIT’s online platforms; a dedicated regional coaching programme; and an extensive library of industry-specific factsheets on key export markets.
- Boosted digital and e-commerce offer consisting of three initiatives:
- International Clicks Fast Track Initiative: Access to new DIT partnerships with business-to-business marketplaces, increasing the routes to market following store closures due to COVID-19.
- Omnichannel Optimiser Initiative, including: tailored advice for consumer and retail businesses; exclusive e-commerce related insights from industry experts via talks, virtual events and podcasts; and a specialist webinar series equipping exporters with e-commerce knowledge.
- FDI e-commerce marketing campaign: Digitally led marketing activity to showcase e-commerce inward investment opportunities to potential international investors.
- UKEF offer: Further outreach and engagement with the industry to respond to the industry’s needs; a refreshed ‘Exporters Edge’ campaign to raise awareness of the support available; and easier access to working capital to allow a wider range of businesses to access support.
- A digital investment prospectus: A prospectus detailing the UK’s RetailTech offer and unique capabilities. This will be promoted in key markets in order to engage with inward investors.
- Showcasing ‘Brand Britain’ at global events: leveraging Government presence at high profile events to provide a platform for consumer goods companies to showcase their offering globally; enabling UK companies to use GREAT branding at global events; engaging consumer and retail businesses in the Midlands region to help them take advantage platforms to reach overseas buyers.