EU policy makers and Member States need to do 'everything in their power' to assist SME retailers with rising energy costs, Independent Retail Europe has said in a statement.
The group, which represents the independent food and non-food retail sector in Europe, has called for the adoption and rapid execution of energy intervention measures, with businesses facing increased pressure.
'Fivefold To Tenfold Price Increases'
'Many SME retailers are obliged to conclude new energy contracts now, with often between fivefold to tenfold price increases,' Independent Retail Europe said.
'Under these conditions, they may have to close shop, as current energy costs make their businesses unprofitable. Particularly SME retailers in the food supply chain are heavily affected, as their cooling systems have to function continuously.'
The group praised the efforts of some Member States to support businesses on the basis of a State Aid Crisis Framework. However, it added that not all SME retailers can benefit from these supports, or when they can, the supports are insufficient.
'At the same time, SMEs are required to invest in digitalisation and sustainability measures, among which long-term energy efficiency solutions,' the group said. 'We strongly support these initiatives and our membership is taking measures in this direction, but with the current energy prices, they see their plans derail.'
Independent Retail Europe added that SME retailers are 'essential' to their communities, urging policy makers to 'speed up their plans' for emergency interventions.
Independent Retail Europe represents 23 groups and their over 417,800 independent retailers, who manage more than 753.500 sales outlets, with a combined retail turnover of more than €1.32 billion, and generating a combined wholesale turnover of €484 billion.
© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.