The Panel's aims were to identify the current challenges and opportunities facing Jersey's retail sector. We also assessed the role of out-of-town retail areas and the impact they have on local Parish communities.
The Panel found that, although Jersey’s retailers are experiencing challenging times, particularly with the increase of internet shopping, the future outlook is promising if retailers remain open to new ideas, technologies and innovation.
We found that online shopping is most likely the biggest challenge for retailers. It is important, now more than ever, that retail staff have the right skills to improve the quality of their customer service so that customers will return to their stores and shop local.
The introduction of a retail course (run by Highlands College) is a great example of enhancing the skill level in the retail workforce. In addition to this course, we have recommended that a course focused on customer service is rolled out in 2019 in order to guarantee a minimum level of customer service.
A vibrant town centre, which offers a diverse range of events can be a major source of attraction and make a significant contribution to the local economy.
We found that data collection in the retail sector is poor and as a result we do not have a clear view of the industry. Having robust data on the value of retail to the economy will be beneficial and should enable the Department to identify weaknesses and problems in advance, as well as providing an insight for potential investors in the Island's retail economy.
We have recommended that statistics are collected on retail sales and, in order to gain a true understanding of consumer behaviour, additional footfall cameras are installed in St Helier.