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Stability tops retailers’ list of needs post-EU referendum result


The effect of Thursday’s ‘Brexit’ result will undoubtedly resonate for years to come and it is certainly too early to fully understand how independent retailers across the UK will be affected.

The market turmoil that has followed Thursday’s referendum result, subsequently followed by the immediate political aftershocks, will not be the only stumbling blocks in the journey to life outside the European Union (EU). Whilst the markets have clearly reacted in a robust way to this historic result, the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) wants to see clarity and stability introduced for the business community as quickly as possible, along with re-assurance from the government about how suppliers will access European Union (EU) markets in the future and how the movement of people and trade will be affected.

In the aftermath of the British public’s vote to leave the EU, bira CEO Alan Hawkins commented: “Consumers, and the retailers that serve them, need to be given as much confidence as possible from now until the agreement for the UK to leave the EU is signed, sealed and delivered. That means laying out predictable timetables and sticking to them.”

He added: “I’m watchful of the likelihood of interest rate changes.” A further fall could be possible if the Bank of England becomes concerned about a developing recession, but increases could follow if inflation grows too quickly. That could dampen the national housing market, which might be relatively welcome in the overheating London market, but could also weaken prospects for retail sectors ranging from carpets and furniture to hardware and housewares”, he said.

Alan Hawkins concluded: “Whatever we thought about the EU Referendum and Brexit; and bira members were evenly split on the issue, we are where we are today. We call on the government to do everything it can to make sure that calm and stability reign in the difficult period of exit negotiations.”

Consumers at home and abroad will not turn their back on businesses that continue to deliver great products in ways that excite and delight them. We do expect trade in the short term will waiver until the certainty of the country’s network of trading relationships becomes clear. The British people have made their decision. It is now up to the country’s political and business leaders to make that decision right, and independent retailers can be assured that we are here to offer a network of support and help.

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