Helen Dickinson, BRC

The BRC’s Helen Dickinson has prasied the retail industry’s resilience

The retail industry has done well simply to survive all the factors thrown at it in the past few months, the British Retail Consortium’s director general told business leaders today.

Helen Dickinson told the BRC Retail Symposium that the sector had “held its nerve during a prolonged economic downturn” and managed to thrive.

“At the very least, we’ve survived a prolonged economic downturn. We’ve continued to deliver quality products at reasonable prices to customers who’ve had less money in their pockets.

“We’ve kept going through some extraordinary unseasonable weather. And we’ve endured the turmoil and disruption of events like the horsemeat crisis and proved our food supply chains can be trusted when dire expectations about horsemeat were confounded – less than half a per cent of products tested for horsemeat in the UK were positive.”

Dickinson said the UK market had also done more than any other to adapt to the challenge posed by the switch to online retail.

“We’ve kept our eye very firmly on the future,” she added. “British retail is embracing the game-changing digital revolution faster than anywhere else in the world.”

Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King followed Dickinson with a keynote speech in which he urged retailers to align themselves with the new food labelling system launched by the government.