Navigation path

Retail services

The retail and wholesale services are key for the EU economy. They account for 11.1% of the EU's GDP and provide around 33 million jobs (almost 15% of total employment in the EU). Over 6 million companies in the retail sector act as intermediaries between thousands of product suppliers and millions of consumers. E-commerce has increased the potential market for retailers and the scope of products available to consumers. The European Commission aims to ensure that EU wholesalers, retailers and consumers enjoy an integrated retail market.

European Retail Action Plan

The European Retail Action Plan addresses the key obstacles to the smooth functioning of the EU retail sector. Adopted in January 2013, the Plan identifies actions to realise the single market in retail, to enhance the sector's performance and to ensure it fully contributes to the Europe 2020 strategy.

For more information on the European Retail Action Plan, see:

High Level Group on Retail Competitiveness

The Commission set up a High Level Group on Retail Competitiveness to advise it on retail policy. The summary reports of the meetings can be accessed on the High Level Group's page.

Unfair trading practices (UTPs)

Communication on unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply chain

To improve the protection of small food producers and retailers against the potentially unfair practices of their sometimes much stronger trading partners, the Commission adopted a Communication in July 2014. The main pillars of the Communication are:

  1. Support of voluntary initiatives such as the Supply Chain Initiative;
  2. EU-wide standards for good practice principles;
  3. Effective enforcement at national level.

For more information see:

Green Paper on unfair trading practices (UTPs) in Europe

The Communication on UTPs was preceded by a Green Paper. A public consultation on the Green Paper was open from January 2013 to April 2013. It aimed to identify the main problems and to propose next steps in addressing UTPs.

Establishment of Retail Outlets

Restrictions on the establishment of retail outlets are a serious obstacle to a more competitive retail sector. Selecting the right location for retail development and the timely start of operations are decisive for business success. EU countries may apply restrictions on retail establishment – relating to the location and size of retail outlets for example – to protect the environment or consumers or for town and country planning purposes. Such restrictions need to be appropriate and proportionate to the objectives pursued.

EU countries and the Commission discussed national retail establishment legislation to identify Best Practices.

Feasibility study on setting up a database containing EU and national food labelling rules

This study presents a detailed analysis on the overall feasibility of a database containing all EU and domestic food labelling rules. It analyses how the establishment of a database could help stakeholders and lists the opportunities, costs and benefits that its creation may provide.

Supporting documents