Boris Johnson must act to cure retailers’ Brexit blues

Boris Johnson must act to cure retailers’ Brexit blues

Boris Johnson needs to curtail his no-deal Brexit rhetoric in order to reassure retailers, according to GlobalData.

Numerous retailers – particularly the supermarkets – have expressed concerns over an October deadline, anxious about the potential increased pressure to supply chains and storage space coinciding with Halloween and preparation for the busy Christmas period. 

Johnson’s appointment as PM has seen the probability of a no-deal Brexit rise, augmenting concerns over the supply of fresh food, toys and essentials such as pharmaceuticals and contraceptives. He must now make swift progress in bringing a withdrawal agreement to the table, says Thomas Brereton, Retail Analyst at GlobalData.

“Retailers will also be watching to see if Johnson can stimulate consumer confidence. Our July Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows both future and present sentiment declining from the previous month, and despite being marginally higher than the lows witnessed at the start of 2019, this will likely worsen as we approach October if the Government fails to provide clarification over Brexit,” he comments.

Outside of Brexit, meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium and retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Next are becoming ever more vocal about the destructive impact of business rates on physical retailers.” But while Johnson called for cuts to business rates alongside corporation tax during his leadership campaign, concrete details have not been provided. “We do not expect him to make the bold changes that the retailers require,” Brereton concludes.

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