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British retailers unprepared for Brexit

Despite retail decision-makers expressing concern about Brexit, 57% are yet to implement a post-Brexit plan.

In a survey of 200 British retail decision-makers, market research agency Censuswide found that:

  • 54% of British retailers share concern over Brexit
  • 49% anticipate a collapse in consumer confidence in the UK post-Brexit
  • 43% anticipate difficulty in sourcing products or goods
  • 34% are considering rationing stock in case of shortages
  • 43% will raise prices post-Brexit

While retailers selling cross-border said they have “benefitted” from a weak pound since the 2016 EU referendum – making UK products more appealing to overseas shoppers – they worry that imported raw materials will become more expensive.

At least 39% of respondents expect Brexit to negatively impact sales, with a further 38% expressing concern over the fourth quarter in particular as a result of the government’s delayed Brexit date (31st October).

Nir Debbi, co-founder and CMO of cross-border solutions provider Global-e (who commissioned the survey), said: “The government’s delayed Brexit date poses a significant risk to retail performance over the fourth quarter, with 38% of retailers surveyed of the opinion that online trading will be affected by this untimely departure.”

That said, 70% have no plans to move their business to an EU country, and 55% haven’t changed their international operations and strategy since the 2016 referendum.

Debbi added: “While many British retailers have no formal Brexit plans in place, our survey shows that retail leaders are acutely aware of the issues their businesses face in the wake of Britain leaving the EU.

“The government has set a formal date for Britain’s exit, which unfortunately falls right before peak trading – a vital time in the year for the sector, adding additional concern.

“However, our survey shows that retailers that sell internationally have actually experienced an increase in sales, defying the Brexit gloom and showing that the wider industry is confident when it comes to international growth.”

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