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Wolverhampton | Sandwell | Dudley | Walsall 

4 - 15 October 2021

Retail, Tourism & Hospitality

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The Retail sector, (including Retailing and Wholesale trade) is the largest employer in the region, accounting for 19% of all jobs in the Black Country. There are 94,000 people working in the sector, 54% of whom are employed in retailing and 46% in Wholesale and Motor Vehicles trade.


Retail is a bigger sector in the Black Country than the national average accounting for 15% of Black Country’s total GVA compared to 11.7% for the UK. It is also forecast to be a high growth sector locally and nationally.

Currently, there are 6,600 retail businesses in the Black Country with 458 high turnover (£1m+) businesses and 17 large businesses employing over 250 people.


The most significant Black Country retail employers include Poundland Ltd, A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd (the largest division of SPAR UK); East End Foods Plc (leading suppliers of Asian food across Europe and the UK); Hayley Group Plc, T.H. Baker Group Limited, Middleton Food Products Ltd and Direct Corporate Clothing Plc.


intu Merry Hill at Brierley Hill near Dudley is the largest shopping centre in the Midlands and seventh largest in the UK, housing over 250 shops in the complex. Other large Black Country shopping centres include the Mander Centre which has recently been re-furbished, re-opening in November 2017, and the Wulfrun Centre in Wolverhampton – as well as the Churchill Shopping Centre in Dudley.


The Black Country has identified as a key region for investment by national and international retailers some time ago. Examples of these have been seen in the large scale destination centres and the St Matthew’s development in Walsall, which has the largest town centre ASDA superstore in the UK.



Tourism & Hospitality

The visitor economy is extremely important to the Black Country, not merely because it underpins the identity and local individuality of the area.

The sector accounts for 8.7% of the Black Country’s total

GVA and employs 25,000 people, the majority of whom are

in Food & Beverage services with others employed in arts, entertainment and gambling activities.

There are 2,065 businesses in the Black Country Tourism and hospitality sector. There are 24 high turnover (£1m+) businesses, with 75% of these being Food & Beverage related companies. There are five large businesses (employing over 250 people).


Significant companies in the area include Marston’s PLC (A leading brewer of premium cask and bottled beers, that operate over 1,700 pubs and 5 breweries in the UK.); The Black Country Living Museum a 26-acre industrial heritage site that attracts around 300,000 visitors per year); the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, which completed an £825,000 refurbishment in September 2016.


In 2015, there were 28 million visitors to the Black Country. Key destination attractions include the award-winning Dudley Zoo - home to more than 1300 animals; the Dudley Canal Trust which has a new, £3 million visitor and heritage centre and attracts over 80,000 visitors annually; the Stourbridge Glass Quarter with its international glass festival and glass blowing demonstrations; Wolverhampton Racecourse - Britain's first floodlit horse racing track; and of course, Wolverhampton Wanderers - now in the premier division, at the newly-refurbished Molyneux Stadium.


The region is really enhancing its potential as a tourist destination with investment in infrastructure and improvements in leisure and cultural attractions. 

Read more on the Black Country LEP website.


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8 Sectors

100+ Free events

5,000 People

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