Key data on the retail sector in the UK. Government policy and pressures facing the industry are also discussed.Jump to full report >>
The retail sector involves spending by consumers in shops and online. Supporting the retail sector, the wholesale sector involves those businesses that supply shops.
In 2017, consumers in the UK spent around £406 billion in retail purchases.
For every £1 spent in the retail sector (online and in shops),
Despite continued increase in both sales and footfall, the sector has come under pressure in recent years in a number of ways, including from the growth and evolution of supermarkets and online retailing.
The vote to leave the EU has had an effect on inflation, with the largest impact being on food prices; however, consumer confidence has remained high, contrary to expectations.
The Government made a number of policy changes in its 2011 Plan for Growth, and further measures have continued to be brought in. In the 2016 Budget, business rates for small businesses were reduced in order to boost their growth.
The Portas Review of the High Street was published in December 2011 and made a number of recommendations across a range of policy areas including planning, transport, and local government finance. In February 2012 the Government announced a competition for areas to be “Portas Pilots” to test some of the recommendations. 27 towns were chosen act as Portas Pilots; the Government reported on the progress of this project in July 2013.
Commons Briefing papers SN06186
Authors: Chris Rhodes; Philip Brien