By Daniel Hunter

The government is backing Britain’s retailers in their bid to expand into fast-growing and lucrative overseas markets.

Business Secretary Vince Cable today (Wednesday) launched the UK Retail Industry International Action Plan at the largest annual gathering of senior retailers, Retail Week Live. The Action Plan was developed by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in association with the retail industry.

The global retail sector has held up well in recent years recording a compound annual growth rate of seven per cent. Sales are expected to grow by eight per cent annually through to 2016.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The retail industry is a significant contributor to the UK economy employing more than three million people and generating £300 billion for our economy. British brands have a deservedly world class reputation for sustainability, quality and innovation.

“The UK’s dominance in e-commerce puts retailers in a world-beating position to capitalise on the fast growing demand for British goods and luxury brands.

“As we rebalance the economy with more export-led growth, retail has an important role to play. With this action plan UKTI will back small and large retailers across the UK to grow and expand into new export markets.”

British Retail Consortium Director General Helen Dickinson said: “British retail is world class and given the opportunity can be more successful in markets across the globe. We are delighted that UKTI, working together with the rest of government and with the retail industry, recognises the strength of British retail and is committed to helping it prosper in world markets.

“This International Action Plan should make a real difference. It will ensure that retailers who need help and advice get it, and that the British government’s efforts to tackle barriers to trade overseas are properly co-ordinated.”

The two-year Action Plan sets out three major campaigns led by UKTI to assist retailers to grow internationally:

- support for retailers to use all the available ways to reach international customers. Britain’s 228,000 online retailers already export more than the rest of Europe’s e-retailers put together;

- targeting the rapidly growing number of middle class consumers in priority markets where British luxury brands are highly prized including Mumbai, Beijing, Istanbul, St Petersburg, Shanghai, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Warsaw;

- working with retailers to develop the UK experience economy offer to offshore customers. UK firms are well placed to win new international business leveraging Britain’s unrivalled expertise at marrying retail opportunities with leisure and cultural institutions when developing new shopping destinations.

Building on London’s status as the world’s shopping capital UKTI will use its global network to attract more of the world’s leading retail brands to invest and locate here.

Plans for Ministers to promote the retail sector internationally, work to resolve market access issues and support for retailers to re-engineer their supply chains are also outlined.

'Open to Export' http://opentoexport.com/ is a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) initiative in partnership with hibu plc (formerly Yell Group).

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness