The High Level Group on Retail Competitiveness aims to assist the European Commission in developing policies to improve the long-term competitiveness of the EU retail sector. Its first meeting on 20 January 2014 focuses on retail innovation, a subject of high relevance to brands.
On 31 January 2013, the Commission adopted a Communication setting up a European Retail Action Plan. It related to five key priorities, amongst which:
- empowering consumers through better information
- developing fairer and more sustainable trading relationships along the supply chain
- ensuring a better link between retail and innovation
The High Level Group was set up to help develop further specific objectives for the areas identified, monitor progress achieved and issue recommendations to ensure full implementation of the actions included in this Plan.
It should come as no surprise that five of the twenty members of the group are brand manufacturers, members of AIM. Consumers use retail services every day to access and purchase their favourite brands. Most retailers rely on brands for a significant part of their assortment, as drivers of innovation, communication and category development (see related article). Appropriate collaboration between brand manufacturers and retailers combined with vigorous competition in the market is what enables them to deliver better value for consumers and a more efficient supply chain.
Food-related issues will continue to be addressed in the separate High Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain.
Link to the agenda of the meeting.
Link to the speech of Commissioner Barnier.