The government has launched the first industry-led Retail Sector Council, which includes Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman among its members.

Co-chaired by retail minister Andrew Griffiths MP, the council will meet regularly with industry to discuss the challenges the sector faces, and will seek to encourage growth as the sector adapts to rapidly-changing consumer habits.

Other members include executives from Amazon, Boots and John Lewis, as well as the chief executive of Lincolnshire Co-operative. The other co-chair is Richard Pennycook, chairman of Fenwick, The Hut Group and Howden Joinery Group.

Launching the council today, Griffiths said: “The UK’s retail sector is undergoing rapid structural changes with consumers increasingly favouring online shopping and rising operating costs for retailers.

“Our new collaborative Retail Sector Council will bring government and industry together to look at how best to ensure the industry adapts to meet the changing demands of consumers.”

The ACS’s Lowman added: “The retail industry is at the heart of the profound social, political and economic changes the UK is undergoing, and we need this forum to discuss these issues.

“I am delighted to have been asked to join this council because it is important that small businesses and local shops, which are vital parts of UK retailing, play their part in developing future plans for the industry.”

The Retail Sector Council members are as follows:

Andrew Griffiths, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Co-Chair.

Richard Pennycook, Chairman of Fenwick, The Hut Group and Howden Joinery Group and previously CEO of the Co-operative Group, Co-Chair.

Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chair, John Lewis

Elizabeth Fagan, Senior Vice President, Managing Director Boots UK & ROI

Nick Beighton, CEO, ASOS

Ursula Lidbetter, CEO, Lincolnshire Cooperative

John Hannett, General Secretary, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers

Diane Savory, Chair, GFirst LEP

Victoria Robertshaw, CEO, Keelham Farm Shop

Helen Dickinson, CEO, British Retail Consortium

James Lowman, CEO, Association of Convenience Stores