Tuesday 8 September 2020 6:18 pm

UK retailers encouraged to boost exports after Covid-19 batters high streets

UK retail and consumer brands will be encouraged to ramp up international exporting and online sales amid dwindling high street footfall as part of the government’s coronavirus bounceback plans.

The Department for International Trade today unveiled a raft of measures to support brands with exporting and improving their ecommerce platforms after the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping. 

Exports minister Graham Stuart told City A.M. that UK firms must “balance the business” between online and offline sales to become more resilient. 

He said: “I think the world has changed. It is not that the high street is finished, far from it, but ecommerce is only growing in importance. 

“If we want British brands and retailers to be successful we have to encourage them to balance the business between online and offline sales and UK and exports.”

The measures include a digital Consumer and Retail Export Academy – open to businesses of all sizes – to help them secure international opportunities. 

Firms will also be given access to new DIT partnerships with business-to-business marketplaces to increase routes to market following store closures due to Covid-19. 

UK consumer and retail businesses will also be able to use the government’s presence at high profile events, such as Expo 2020 Dubai, Tokyo Olympics and the Commonwealth games, to showcase their offering to a global audience. 

“More trade and investment is absolutely critical if the industry – and our whole economy – is to overcome such challenges,” Stuart said.

“These measures provide both short and long-term support for businesses that employ so many people across the UK. 

“As we continue to encourage businesses to increase their trade overseas, we will also ensure that they can take full advantage of the opportunities that will be unlocked through our negotiation of Free Trade Agreements with countries around the world.”