Retail and wholesale provide an essential service to their customers every day, all over the European Union. Policymakers recognised our essential role during the Covid pandemic and this role remains unchanged as energy becomes a critical issue for businesses, governments and citizens in Europe alike. The large number of stores and warehouses in our sector consume altogether 220-240TWh per year, much more than many energy- or electro-intensive sectors. Our sector is dependent on energy but low margins (1-3% net in foods) make it extremely vulnerable to skyrocketing energy prices and thus unable to pay its invoices.
Retailers and wholesalers call on EU and national governments to rethink their toolbox and provide urgent help.
Our sector urgently needs
- access to funding – opening up possibilities under the EU temporary framework to compensate at least partially for the huge cost increases; ensuring that retailers and wholesalers benefit from the funding available under the Emergency Instrument approved last week; seeking to redirect some of the Recovery and Resilience facility funds to investments in alternative energy provisions.
- application of the lowest possible tax rates on energy products.
- action on the price of energy – this should be temporary and limited to the crisis – and at a level that preserves incentives to save energy.
The solution is European, and action needs to be taken at the European level to limit further market distortions and preserve the international competitiveness of businesses in Europe.
Our sector has shown leadership in energy saving measures – by reducing in-store temperature, turning lights off at night and keeping heat in stores.
Over the long term, the retail and wholesale sector is going through a major transformation and, to remain relevant, will need to invest large resources in its digitalisation, meeting the sustainability imperative, attracting and retaining talents and – increasingly – in the generation of alternative sources of energy. But the capacity to invest is vanishing with the energy crisis.
Our sector was a priority sector for its services delivered during the Covid pandemic and it must continue to be recognised as such for the recovery and through the current energy crisis.
The risks of no action on the EU economy must not be underestimated: hundreds of thousands of stores providing daily essentials to citizens all over the EU, millions of jobs in urban and rural areas, the supply chains that work with our sector, and the life of local communities are at stake.
Retail and wholesale can be part of the solution but for now, we need all possible help to survive.
▶️ Energy crisis – alarm bells ringing for European retail and wholesale – EuroCommerce
▶️ Retail and wholesale and the energy crisis – an urgent need for support – EuroCommerce