New realities of retail and ecommerce in Scotland

Closed 16 Mar 2022

Opened 1 Feb 2022

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Scottish Parliament’s Economy and Fair Work Committee sought written views to inform its inquiry on town centres and retail. The remit for the Inquiry is as follows:

"Identify the new realities of retail and ecommerce in Scotland and the resulting impact on town centres. What is the subsequent policy response needed to create living and resilient town centres?"

The Committee’s inquiry has three areas of focus. We sought views on these areas and any other contribution responders felt relevant to the inquiry.

Keeping town centres alive

  1. How are Scottish high streets and town centres changing? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Scotland’s town centres?
  2. How do we encourage people to live in town centres? What types of policies are needed?
  3. How can equality and diversity issues be addressed in policies that create and sustain resilient town centres?
  4. Independent and small businesses, and community and co-operative operations enhance local resilience and wellbeing but can often be marginalised in town centres. How can this be changed?
  5. What is the role of culture and leisure in town centres? How can these be leveraged to increase wellbeing?
  6. Who or what can drive change in Scottish town centres?
  7. Can you provide examples of best practice and success stories, in the UK and/or internationally, of creating living and resilient town centres?
  8. If not covered elsewhere, what other policy interventions would you like to see to create living and resilient town centres?

The new realities of Scottish retail

  1. How has the structure and nature of Scottish retail changed over the last decade (topics of interest include: proportion of spend with Scottish headquartered retailers, growth of independent retail, urban and rural trends, etc)?
  2. How has the role of physical retail stores changed and what are the consequences of this for Scottish high streets and town centres?
  3. How can the retail sector deliver fair, secure and quality employment? What’s the gender impact of the move away from traditional retail?
  4. What’s the role of fiscal policy levers in supporting the retail sector?

Ecommerce activity in Scotland

  1. What are the implications for businesses of increased online shopping and digital activity in the customer journey?
  2. Have Scottish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) realised the full potential of online retail? What are the opportunities and barriers?
  3. How are Scottish SMEs supported to develop and grow ecommerce activity? Is this support satisfactory? What other policy interventions, if any, are needed?

How to submit your views

The call for views has now closed, however if you would still like to contribute your views please contact us by email at