Swedish Retailers Hit Out At Increased Regulatory Burden

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Swedish Retailers Hit Out At Increased Regulatory Burden

Close to eight out of ten companies (78%) operating in Sweden's retail and wholesale trade believe that the regulatory burden on businesses has increased in the past five years, according to Svensk Handel, the representative group for the sector.

Just one percent of the respondents to the study said that they felt that the regulatory burden has decreased in that period.

Svensk Handel has published a report, Värsta Reglerna (Worst Rules), which highlighted some of he grievances shared by retailers including concerns over tax legislation, labour laws, food safety and management issues.

Svensk Handel is calling for the introduction of a time limit on regulations, ensuring that businesses aren't caught up in processes on top of processes.

"The regulatory burden takes time, money and resources, which traders could have invested in developing their business or hiring more employees," said Mats Hedenström, business policy manager at Svensk Handel.


"Rules are needed but they should be clear and logical. In order to maintain confidence in the marketplace, it is important that the rules apply equally to all companies."

Key Concerns

According to the Värsta Reglerna report, food regulations are cited as the most resource-intensive in the grocery trade, according to 62% of respondents to the survey.

Some 89% of grocers say that they believe the regulatory burden has increased on their businesses, particular around the area of food handling and food safety.

Grocers cite requirements relating to the self-inspection of food products, as well as documentation management of being particularly demanding.


Respondents cited product legislation, product safety and environmental legislation as being the areas in which they have the least knowledge about regulatory requirements, with almost a third of companies saying that they have 'extensive' knowledge in these areas.

Respondents also feel that contact with public representatives and local authorities on issues relating to regulatory matters has diminished in the past five years.

E-Commerce Growth

Svensk Handel also noted that a 'major challenge' to ensuring regulatory requirements are met across the sector is the increased rate of e-commerce in Sweden, particularly where consumers are sourcing products direct from Asia.

'This in the long run affects pricing and competition,' it said. 'While Swedish and European companies are getting new and tougher regulations, foreign companies often do not comply with these regulations.'

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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