Brexit and the retail sector

In the months leading up to the referendum there was much speculation as to what would happen if we left the European Union. This has meant that once again the retail sector has been thrown into a period of uncertainty.

The British exit from the European Union has meant that in the coming months companies will have to start making choices about their strategic position in the retail sector. As this is a time of economic uncertainty it is crucial that brands recognise their customers and how Brexit will affect their spending.

This combined with the weather conditions that Britain has been experiencing over the past months has meant that people have been less inclined to purchase summer items.

When we voted to exit the European Union on the 23rd June, fashion retailers were tipped to be the worst hit from the declining pound. This is because most retailers’ purchase their goods from Asia and pay for them in dollars, which means that costs would inevitably increase. As well as this, the economic uncertainty that surrounded the referendum made people think twice about what they were purchasing, which meant that retailers saw a fall in sales.

However, the retail sector has shown signs of recovery over the past week with John Lewis and Waitrose sales increasing 3.1% on the previous year.

For online retailers such as ASOS and Boohoo, Brexit has seen increases in profit margins, as it is now cheaper for these businesses to export their products. Nick Beighton, Chief executive of ASOS said, “Around 55% of our customers are non-UK and so in the short term the exchange rate weakness will give happy consequences for our customers.”

Through this time of uncertainty, you no longer need to worry as Brexit has had the support of many great leaders. Whetherspoons’ Founder and Chairman Tim Martin said “The UK is in an immensely strong position” and other influential business associates such as Helen Gomm (Value retailer’s Director of Strategy and Planning), James Croxall (Tesco’s Marketing Strategy & Campaign Manager) and Ian Powell (PwC’s Chairman) are all in support of Brexit.

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