• Home
  • News
  • Retail
  • International retail sector joins forces to launch coronavirus contingency plan

International retail sector joins forces to launch coronavirus contingency plan

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


Scroll down to read more


Retailers across the UK are suffering from a drop in Chinese visitors, who are the biggest spenders and account for over 25 percent of all tax-free sales. A new association has unveiled an action plan to help the international retail sector recover economically, once Covid-19 has been contained.

The plan, brought forward by the newly formed Association of International Retail (AIR), is essential to boost the future recovery of this retail sector and proposes to enhance the complicated visa application system and send a clear message that Britain is “open.” It also aims to digitalise the tax-free shopping system, as seen elsewhere in the world, reduce queues at airport entry and improve the shopping experience through multiple language and payment systems.

6 billion pound retail sector

The UK’s extensive retail offering is one of the biggest attractions for international visitors with at least 57 percent of visits involving shopping, according to latest insight from Visit Britain. Post Brexit, a thriving retail sector is central to the success of the economy, and the association has projected that the sector could reach 7.5 billion pounds in the next five years.

AIR brings together retailers, retail districts, property owners, hotels and tourism bodies to provide an authoritative voice to mobilise government and businesses, and work to ensure this 6 billion pound sector maximises its huge potential for growth as Britain leaves the European Union.

AIR’s long term objectives include campaigning for extending exemptions to Sunday trading laws; leading on innovations to visas and border queues so that it is easier for travellers to visit and shop at the UK’s retail hotspots; and making the case to government that the UKs new post-Brexit immigration policy must help retailers get the staff they need from around the world.

Jace Tyrrell, Chair of The Association of International Retail commented: “In forming AIR we are bringing together businesses from across the international retail sector in an entirely new and innovative way. Our opportunity is great – to grow our contribution to the economy further – and so is our responsibility, as we work to ensure retailers recover economically from a slow start to 2020.”

Image via New West End Company