We have a clear vision for retail in Scotland; a sector that is successful, resilient, sustainable and profitable. Retail already possesses many of these qualities but we can and must do more to fulfil its potential. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the sector’s strengths – such as its crucial role in supporting individuals and communities during lockdown – and tested its resilience. Having weathered the storm of the pandemic, looking ahead, there are new and exciting opportunities for retail businesses.
Publishing this retail strategy now is important as we move into a different phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. Scotland’s Strategic Framework Update sets out a less restrictive approach to effectively and sustainably managing the virus, one that will support recovery and give us the best possible chance of returning to a much more normal way of life.
Coupled with this is the recent publication of our National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), which sets out actions that will be taken to support Scotland’s economic growth over the next ten years including through creating new entrepreneurs, developing resilient supply chains, and contributing to a strong, wellbeing economy. A wellbeing economy, based on the principles of prosperity, equality, sustainability, and resilience, is at the heart of the NSET vision for the economy in 2032. Our Covid Recovery Strategy highlights the impact that the pandemic has had on our people and society and how we will address the systemic inequalities made worse by Covid through building a wellbeing economy and inclusive person-centred public services.
These three key documents underpin this retail strategy, which sets out what actions businesses, government and trade unions can take to seize those opportunities – to improve productivity, support the creation of new businesses and deliver stronger business growth that will benefit us all. A wealthier economy and a fairer economy go hand-in-hand, with the most productive economies in the world also scoring highly on wellbeing indicators.
The strategy document is grouped around the themes of Sector, People and Place, identified by industry representatives as areas of existing opportunities with potential for change. Given the significant role for the sector in helping Scotland achieve its net zero ambitions, the additional theme of Just Transition has been included.
Sector sets out ways in which retail businesses can grow, boost productivity, take advantage of new technological or marketing opportunities and support entrepreneurship.
People focusses on embedding a fair work approach and supporting skills development and career progression that will help retailers retain staff and attract new talent.
Place sets out how retailers can build on the vital contribution they already make to the economic and social success of their locale and surrounding businesses.
Just Transition focusses on actions to progress towards our ambitious climate change target of achieving net zero by 2045.
How we view and measure success and achieve our aims for the sector is set out in the Defining Success section, which also sets out the crucial role for the new Retail Industry Leadership Group which will be responsible for oversight and delivery of a number of priority objectives.
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