Retail refers to the unaltered resale of new and used items by market trade establishments, primarily for use or consumption by the public. According to the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB), Latvia’s total retail sales increased by 15.6% in January 2022, with food retail sales increasing by 5% and non-food retail sales increasing by 33.1%, except motor gasoline, which saw a 2.1% increase in retail sales. This study demonstrates that choosing to launch a retail business in Latvia is a great decision because it is a very promising industry.

The first action to take

To start a business in the retail sector in Latvia, you must first choose your business structure, which can be a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (SIA), a micro-company (limited liability company – SIA), public stock company (AS), or a non-profit organization. A limited liability company (SIA in Latvian), which can be founded by one or more people or legal entities and has a minimum share capital of EUR 2800, is the preferred method of business establishment in Latvia.

Every five years, data on the wholesale trade in Latvia are recorded, and the most recent figures show that in 2008, Latvia’s wholesale enterprises had a net turnover of 12,5 billion euros at current exchange rates. The majority of businesses were made up of those whose primary activity was the wholesale trade in heating fuels, including other solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels as well as motor fuel.

Obtaining wholesale and retail licenses in Latvia

These businesses can register and get permits using procedures that are very similar to those used by manufacturing businesses. Traders are required to open a bank account, pay the registration fee, and obtain a tax identification number. In addition, the trader must provide the relevant paperwork, along with all pertinent details, to the authorities.

The Latvian government provides a range of wholesale and retail permits, such as a license for biopharmaceutical goods, a special license for opening a pharmacy and wholesale dealing in prescription medications, an authorization for the distribution of health drugs, a special authorization for wholesaling veterinary medications, a registration for alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, marketing approval for raw milk, and many more. Some of the Latvian wholesale and retail licenses are listed below.

Types of licenses in Latvia 

The following retail and wholesale licenses are available for application in Latvia:

Permission to sell natural gas as a retail fuel

Under the Basic Authentication Laws, organizations interested in trading natural gas are required to register with the Natural Gas Suppliers’ Registry. To be listed on the Natural Gas Traders’ List, a corporation must send a Notice on the Establishment of a Natural Gas Dealer to the Control Board. The appropriate staff members from the Gas Division will validate the Notice within a short period and add the company to the Natural Gas Traders’ List.

The Authority must decide whether to grant permission, modify the terms of an existing license, revoke consent, or decline to provide a license within 30 days of receiving the proper request. The day the Authority receives all necessary information and documents is when the request is said to have been submitted.

License for wholesale trade in petroleum products

The distribution of petroleum to merchants or customers is permitted by a special authorization for wholesale trading of oil products, except for private people who are not traders or who have not registered as a corporation in the taxpayers’ record.

The SRS Digital Reporting Network must receive the request for a special license for the distribution and trading of oil items, along with other necessary paperwork. The regulatory fee of 284 euros must be paid before obtaining a special permit.