The British Retail Consortium (BRC) hopes to push the Government’s hand on easing increased taxes for retailers with a report showing UK retailing is “world-class”.
Deliberately published before tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, UK Retail: Leading Globally, Serving Locally aims to show the Government the full contribution retailers make towards the UK economy.
The report found that retail sales totaled £292bn in 2010, equivalent to 20% of UK GDP, while 14% of investment by non-financial sector firms is made by retailers. The retail sector pays 9% of the UK total of the four largest taxes - £17.5bn each year.
Retailers are also the largest private sector employer in the UK accounting for 10.5% of total employment, with 40% of employed young people under 20 working in retail.
The BRC found that consumers were getting a “good deal” revealing that a basket of goods is 5% cheaper than the rest of Europe as a whole, while clothing is 20% lower in price.
BRC director of public affairs Jane Beavis said: “We have a much more liberal approach to discounting than the rest of Europe, which has certain restrictions. The quality at UK supermarkets is unrivalled anywhere.”
The UK is also leading the way in multichannel shopping, with an estimated 11% of global internet retail sales coming from the UK, which is equivalent to Germany and France combined.
Supported by Boots financial director Toon Clerckx, the BRC continues to drive its message that retailers cannot afford the business rates increase of 5.6% in April next year, alongside any increases in national minimum wage, two increases in fuel duty and further regulation.
Beavis said: “It seems that because retailers are in every constituency, no-one really owns it, unlike a sector such as manufacturing. We’re a successful part of the economy and what we’re saying [with this report] is that we’re a part of the solution to many problems.”
BRC director of business and regulation Tom Ironside added: “The necessary cuts to public spending will need private sector growth which is faltering.
“We need help to stimulate growth. There are key things that can be done and I want to emphasise that it’s not about hand-outs but controlling future costs.”