The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has released a report addressing the impact of digital transformation and COVID-19 on the retail sector, as well as challenges of the green transition.
EuroCommerce said that it supports the call in the report for redesigning employment and skills support measures, and investment in developing skill sets of future retail workers.
While the sector has a proud record of training and upskilling, equipping the workforce for a rapidly changing business environment needs support, EuroCommerce noted.
Driving European Recovery
According to EuroCommerce director-general Christel Delberghe, the report "recognises the strategic role that the retail ecosystem plays in driving European recovery, underlines the significant transformation underway and the need to support investment and resilience."
"I would like to thank the EESC for its very helpful and supportive report highlighting the importance, but also the needs, of our ecosystem in order to remain competitive and continuing to provide in the future the essential service it gives its customers every day," Delberghe added.
EuroCommerce believes that it is equally important to help the nearly five million SME retailers and wholesalers in Europe in their digital and sustainability transition by offering advice on how to build an online presence and succeed in the market.
The EESC report highlights the role of retail in rural areas, towns and villages as these are ecosystems in which retail, other services, cafes and restaurants feed each other and make the community an attractive place to visit, work and live.
The pandemic coupled with changing consumer behaviour has led to the closure of businesses, which in turn has affected local communities.
Concerted public-private initiatives, involving all parts of the community and its businesses, are urgently needed to reverse this trend, with support at the regional, national, and EU levels, EuroCommerce added.
EuroCommerce has welcomed the decision of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumers Committee (IMCO) to endorse an own-initiative report by Kosma Złotowski MEP on tackling non-tariff barriers in the single market.