Welsh flag with red dragon rippling

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The Cross Party Group on Small Shops has met to explore the Welsh Government’s retail vision and how small shops are contributing to the delivery of the strategy to regenerate the retail sector in Wales.

The new vision sets out how the Welsh Government, the retail sector and trade unions will work together to develop a successful, innovative, sustainable and resilient sector.

The meeting was chaired by Vikki Howells MS and attended by a number of MS’s and independent retail trade associations.

During the meeting, ACS government relations director Edward Woodall highlighted the vital role that local shops play in communities across Wales and to the Welsh economy, outlining the issues that these businesses are currently facing including rising energy bills and employment costs.

ACS government relations director Edward Woodall said: “Local shops are playing a key role in helping customers to try and manage their money as they navigate the cost of living crisis. By shopping in local shops, consumers are shopping little and often, using a range of services in one place, and saving money on fuel by walking to stores.

“Convenience retailers are committed to helping their communities through the cost of living crisis is despite the ongoing cost of trading crisis that they’re currently facing. We will continue to engage with the Welsh Government on their retail vision to help shape the action plan to ensure that it reflects the issues faced by local shops in Wales.”

Retail is Wales’ biggest private sector employer, providing jobs to more than 114,000 people across the country, contributing 6% of Wales’ gross value added.

The vision sets out ambitions to ensure retail remains at the heart of Welsh communities by offering people fair work and real career opportunities. It includes measures to help the sector overcome workforce recruitment and retention challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU, alongside the impact on operating costs and consumer habits caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

The strategic vision will be backed up with an action plan in the coming months.