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Cost of business to rise if Scotland votes 'yes', says John Lewis chairman

Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership Sir Charlie Mayfield warned the cost of doing business in Scotland could rise if the nation votes ‘yes’ in the upcoming referendum.

Speaking at the company’s half year results this morning (September 11) Mayfield said a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum on September 18 would cause “uncertainty” in the economy and the cost of doing business and prices may rise as a result.

“There will be business risks if there is a ‘yes’ vote. The economic uncertainty will effect trading generally. The cost of doing business in Scotland is already higher but if there is a ‘yes’ vote and there are changes in tax regulations or currency we can’t say that prices will stay the same,” he added.

Distribution costs in Scotland are more expensive than the rest of the UK because of the greater distances covered. Restrictions on when certain products - such as alcohol - can be sold in Scotland are also an extra cost for retailers.

Mayfield said a change of currency would cause a “significant” extra cost for retailers trading in Scotland.

“If the extreme happens and there is a different currency that would be a challenge and have significant costs,” he said. “We want to grow and flourish our thriving business in Scotland and I would regret any outcome that makes that harder to realise.”

Sales at John Lewis grew 9.4% to £1.87bn in the six months to July 26, with like for likes up 8.2%.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Oh please give me a break, does that apply to ZARA, MANGO.RALPH LAUREN ,GAP along with every Super Market chain including Aldi.
    Put up the prices as they are now a separate country, I think you are jumping the gun a bit!
    This is scare mongering at its best. If you want them to stay in then say so but please don't play silly games.

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  • darren hoggett

    Mayfield is talking a load of crap. There is no way he can possibly know whether or not prices will rise. It is all hypothetical - no more than that.

    As with other business leaders, he's been squeezed by the government to scaremonger as there is absolutely no evidence to back it up. A peerage has it conditions.

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