As one of the most competitive and reactive industries, the retail industry in Malta has to be the most flexible of all industries to deal with changing consumer demands, industry and legal changes, market strengths and weaknesses, market diversification, consumer trends, and the varying mind of the end-customer in general. Issues such as fair competition, varying industry standards and more demanding safety standards have marked many of the changes to the retail agenda, as has efficacy and sustainability following periods of fragmented economies. However, an ability to act quickly, productively and towards a cost-effective business model has seen many a business ride the downturns.
The Retail Industry in Malta
The Maltese retail distribution sector is mostly made up of small local retail shops and street vendors (fruits and vegetables). Most of these are family owned. However, entry into the EU and the adoption of the Euro have changed the face of traditional local retailing and have paved the way for large European retailers and franchises to expand on the islands. While the retail industry in Malta is still by and large dominated by small trading companies, Malta’s entry into the EU has forced local traders to re-think their distribution strategies by opening the local market up to foreign competition. In fact, the last ten years have witnessed takeovers and mergers of local domestic shops with larger international entities.
Our Malta Retail Industry Team
Our Retail Industry specialised team can advise clients in their business start-up phase, including accounts set up, accounts management and forecasting; compliance; permit issues; franchise and intellectual property advice and tax advice. Our team of lawyers and tax advisors will ensure the business is set up and complaint with the main laws and regulations. Our Employment and Labour Team will facilitate the requirements for staffing, industrial disputes, and will provide consultancy on internal human resource issues.
This team, with its lawyers, accountants and tax advisors, offers advice regarding the retail industry in Malta which goes beyond the legal and financial considerations of this sector. We look at practical, logistical and every day issues and we tackle them with the client until these are ironed out. Typical clients include contractors and developers, high street and shopping centre units, cafeterias and restaurants, hotel operators and general importers and distributors.
Led by partner Dr Jean Philippe Chetcuti, the team has a deep awareness of the needs of the retail industry in Malta, as well as the leisure sectors, and the issues they face. Contemporary retail and leisure operators often have a globally spread presence, with most of our clients hailing from the UK, continental Europe and the US. We have represented international household-name brands and franchises in their real estate requirements, intellectual property protection needs and international structuring and tax issues. Our London office has also acted as an outreach platform that places us closer to our main clients in this industry, hence ensuring our maximum availability and presence in our clients’ projects.