EuroCommerce has once again called for immediate action to support the retail and wholesale sectors during the ongoing economic crisis, as EU energy ministers held an informal meeting on 12 October.
Recently, ahead of the Energy Council on 30 September, EuroCommerce called for support for the retail and wholesale sectors due to the energy crisis.
EuroCommerce president Juan Manuel Morales said, “In our board meeting this week, we discussed the massive challenges for our sector in dealing with spiralling energy costs and inflation. We have heard from many members in our sector that the situation is no longer sustainable.
“If no urgent action is taken to address the cost of energy, a large and growing number of retail and wholesale companies are at real risk, and Europe faces shopping areas being denuded of their stores.”
According to EuroCommerce, European retail and wholesale need a European solution to current energy prices, and it is a matter of urgency.
Retail and wholesale businesses are particularly vulnerable to rising energy costs, as the sector consumes a considerable amount of energy and generates very low profit margins.
The sector has already implemented measures to save energy and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
The continuous need for the sector to provide an essential service means that businesses cannot stop or curtail their activities while waiting for energy prices to come down, EuroCommerce noted.
Most businesses in the sector have absorbed the impact of inflationary pressures, resulting in consumer prices increasing less than producer and import prices.
However, with energy prices making up 40% of inflation and still rising, many supply chains are being disrupted. As a result, the sector will pass on these extra costs to consumers unless action is taken at EU and national levels.
The retail and wholesale sector is the largest private-sector employer with a presence in every European community, EuroCommerce added.