Retail and wholesale plays an essential role in the lives of everyone and the European economy. Over a billion times a day, it provides an essential service and serves as the link between manufacturers and 450 million consumers across Europe. It is a dynamic, highly competitive and customer-focused sector.
- It is the largest private-sector employer in Europe: 26 million Europeans work in retail and wholesale – 1 in 7 of the working population.
- It generates 10% of the EU’s GDP. One in three European companies is in retail and wholesale.
- Over 99% of the 5 million retail and wholesale companiesin Europe are SMEs (small & medium-sized enterprises).
- It supports millions of jobs in its supply chains, ranging from small suppliers to major international companies. It is a lynchpin of local communities, playing a key role in the life and attractiveness of cities, smaller towns and villages
The sector is changing significantly in response to new consumer behaviour, technological developments, competitive pressure, as well the need to address the sustainability imperative, It also being proactive in attracting new talents to support the sector transformation. Change is affecting both large players and the millions of very small companies active in retail and wholesale. Low margins in our sector means that investing for the long term is more difficult than in other sectors.