New Retail Sector Council to address skills shortage and productivity

Senior management from Asos, Fenwick, Amazon and the John Lewis Partnership have joined a new industry-led Retail Sector Council to help retailers in the changing consumer market.

The council was officially launched by Retail Minister Andrew Griffiths on 7 March, and will meet regularly with industry to discuss the challenges the sector faces.

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

“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.”

How to adapt to changing consumer behaviour, adopting new technologies to improve customer service and ways of boosting sector productivity will be some of the issues that the council will address.

Richard Pennycook, chairman of luxury department store Fenwick and e-commerce group The Hut Group, has been named co-chair of the Retail Sector Council. He said: “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.”

Council members include Nick Beighton, CEO of ASOS; Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager of Amazon; Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium; and Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

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