Independent Retail Europe represents retail groupings characterised by the provision of a support network to independent SME retail entrepreneurs, joint purchasing of goods and services to attain efficiencies and economies of scale as well as respect for the independent character of the individual independent retailer.
Independent Retail Europe today
Independent Retail Europe is the European association that acts as an umbrella organisation for groups of independent retailers in the food and non-food sectors. Our members are groups of independent retailers, associations representing groups of independent retailers and wider service organisations built to support independent retailers.
Independent Retail Europe represents
over 370,000 independent retailers
22 groups and associations of groups in Europe
(Data: March 2018)
Our members’ business model
Independent retailers/entrepreneurs – usually small and medium-sized enterprises – may run their business in various ways. One of the most successful ways is to join a group that operates at the wholesale level. Joining a group allows independent retailers/entrepreneurs to compete with large market players whilst remaining independent.
These groups act in favour of their members, both to increase the value of their business, and to improve the economic performance of their shops, as well as actively involving them in the development of the group. These groups respect the independent character of their members whilst ensuring, in various ways, the participation of their members in the direction and management of the group. Furthermore they provide independent retailers with technical and material resources, including all the services and the human capacity required to guarantee the development of flourishing retail businesses: purchasing pools, logistics and IT, training, financial services, consultancy, marketing, shopfitting and advice on trends, etc.
Our groups enable independent SME retailers to compete with large integrated retail chains.
In this context, the Independent Retail Europe objectives are to:
Independent Retail Europe is the oldest retail association in Brussels.
The association found its beginning in 1963 as UGAL - Union des Groupements d’Achat de l’Alimentation, an association of buying groups for food products.
On 25 February 1987 it became UGAL - Union des Groupements d’Achat coopératifs de Détaillants de l’Europe – Union der genossenschaftlichen Einkaufsorganisationen Europas – an association of buying and selling groups in the food as well as the non-food sector , who were bound together under a joint overall corporate identity.
On 13 May 1995, UGAL was further developed into the Union des Groupements de Commerçants détaillants indépendants de l’Europe. These were buying and selling groups under one corporate identity as well as aligned marketing strategies.
On 13 June 2002, was renamed UGAL - Union of Groups of independent Retailers of Europe, whose members share a unique business model characterised by the provision of a support network to independent SME retail entrepreneurs; joint purchasing of goods and services to attain efficiencies and economies of scale, as well as respect for the independent character of the individual independent retailer.
While our membership’s core values and particular group business model have remained the same, the 16 October 2013 marked another turning point in the association’s 50-year history when it rebranded to Independent Retail Europe.
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