Retail Strategy Steering Group


The group is made up of representatives from trade organisations, business, academia, public sector and trade unions. Considerations for the strategy will include the impact that COVID-19 has had on retail businesses and how the sector may have to change and adapt to meet these challenges, including some accelerated shifts from high street to online shopping prompted by the pandemic.

The group first met in January 2021.

The remit of the steering group is to:

  • develop a shared vision for the future of retail in Scotland
  • develop a retail strategy for Scotland that will set out how government, retailers and unions will work together with consumers to deliver that vision
  • develop a retail strategy for Scotland’s retail work force that delivers secure and quality employment
  • help the Scottish Government and its agencies to better understand and respond to the needs of the retail sector and consumers
  • provide the opportunity for steering group members to help shape key policy
  • agree on the range of thematic work streams that will be developed
  • agree on the content and delivery of the strategy, including recommendations and actions that may arise from the work streams’ findings and on a format for  presenting the findings
  • consider the impact of accelerated trends brought about by the pandemic (i.e. the shift towards online and away from bricks and mortar, changes in workforce composition, supply chain resilience/transformation) and develop policies to minimise the economic and social harm and to maximise any benefits
  • consider the impact of retail on climate change, encourage sustainable ways of working and look at ways of reducing the carbon footprint throughout stores, logistics and the supply chain
  • capture examples of innovation or best practice in retail and throughout the supply chain that may have emerged through necessity in light of challenging circumstances, and examine ways to maximise benefit by initiating new ways of working
  • oversee the activities of the work streams to ensure they deliver on brief and within agreed timescales
  • assist in the positive promotion of the Strategy document once finalised

Vision for the Retail Strategy in Scotland

Over the next decade, Scotland’s retail sector will thrive through a process of positive change and innovation, to offer people and communities the quality goods, experiences and services they want.

The sector will embrace business development opportunities to foster sustainable growth; protect the environment; cultivate entrepreneurship; strengthen supply chains; support wellbeing; and ensure that retail offers secure, well-paid and rewarding employment.

The Scottish Government will work in partnership with the sector, trade unions and employees, whose experiences are crucial, to help the retail sector in Scotland become an exemplar for inclusive economic growth and play its part in creating a fairer, greener and stronger Scotland.


The Retail Sub-group will be chaired by the Minister Business, Fair Work and Skills. Membership of the group draws on trade unions, businesses, academia, public sector and leadership bodies and is set out below:

  • Scottish Retail Consortium, David Lonsdale, Director
  • Federation of Small Businesses, Andrew McRae, Policy Chair
  • Scottish Wholesale Association, Colin Smith Chief Executive
  • USDAW, Tracy Gilbert, Deputy Divisional Officer, 
  • GMB, Robert Deavy, GMB Scotland Organiser
  • Scottish Grocers’ Federation, John Lee, Head of Policy and Public Affairs
  • University of Stirling, Professor Leigh Sparks, Deputy Principal
  • Business Gateway, Hugh Lightbody, Chief Officer
  • Skills Development Scotland, Katie Hutton, Director of National Training Programmes
  • Scottish Enterprise, Allan McQuade, Director, Business Infrastructure
  • COSLA, Fiona Richardson, Chief Officer
  • Scotland Food and Drink/Genius Foods,Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Board Member
  • Scotmid Co-operative, John Brodie, Chief Executive
  • Buchanan Galleries, Kathy Murdoch, Centre Manager
  • John Lewis Plc, Andrew Murphy, Chief Operating Officer
  • The Highland Soap Company, Emma Parton, Director
  • Locavore Community Interest Company, Reuben Chesters, Project Manager
  • M and Co, Andy McGeoch, Chief Executive
  • Castle Douglas Food Town Initiative/Irvings Homestyle Bakery Ltd, Keith Irving, Chairman
  • Boots, Tracey Clements, Chief Operating Officer