A new series of measures has been announced by the UK Government to support businesses in the consumer and retail industries during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plans, announced by Minister for exports Graham Stuart, will offer immediate support to businesses by ensuring specialists provide advice on online retail and international market-places.
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 also outlines long-term support for the sector as new export opportunities arise from trade deals being negotiated with the US, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.
The government said 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 10 years. This trend is expected to continue as a result of coronavirus, with many UK businesses already experiencing increased sales online.
Stuart said: “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.”
He added: “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.”