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EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren is speaking at the World Retail Congress conference in London today, and said
“COVID is a global pandemic and its impact is global, particularly for a people-facing sector such as retail. We have heard from many of our members in Europe that a worrying number of shops will not stay open once current support measures end. This is in part the result of repeated and unpredictable government lockdowns over the last 18 months, but also a symptom of the acceleration by the pandemic of the fundamental transformation of the sector to digital and online sales. Retailers small and large, suffering from historically low margins, need urgent government support to make the investment necessary for digitalisation and sustainability. This is an economic and social imperative needing decisive action not only for our sector but all the other parts of the economy and the local communities we serve.”
He is speaking to OECD G20 and G7 sherpa Nicolas Pinaud, and in a panel with Matt Shay, President and CEO of the US National Retail Federation, and Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, on issues surrounding the measures needed to maintain the signs of positive recovery in recent months, in part due to government support.