Wales’s retail industry is undergoing significant change driven by a transformation in shopping habits, new technology, intense competition, falling prices and burgeoning regulatory costs. Many in the industry are responding by refining their business models, investing in new technology and revamping their logistics capabilities.
Our Retail 2020 report makes it clear that jobs in retail will in future be more skilled, more productive and better paid, but that there will be fewer of them. The number of stores is also forecast to drop further.
These changes have profound implications for devolved public policy, particularly for employment prospects in communities more reliant on retail jobs, for our town centres and for future revenues from taxes such as business rates.
This should be seen in the light of data from our second Retail 2020 report which show that Welsh retail employees are more proud to work in the industry than those in the other UK nations, as well as being less inclined to want to change careers and wanting more hours of work.
The cumulative burden of government-imposed tax and regulatory costs has mushroomed and is accelerating the pace of change in retail. This reinforces the need for a far more coherent approach to policy making, where business and government as a whole in Wales work together to deliver a joint retail road map which nurtures the sector and helps it fulfil its potential over the decade ahead. This would benefit retail, its supply chain and the other sectors it touches.