Retailers say Brexit is damaging their business

today Feb 22, 2019
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Most British retailers are concerned about the impact Brexit will have on their business as the scheduled date for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union draws nearer.

Retail operations platform Brightpearl surveyed 100 retail decision-makers from some of the UK’s biggest retailers to evaluate their perceptions ahead of Brexit day on 29 March.

It found that 71% of UK retailers think Brexit is having a ‘damaging effect’ on the retail sector, and that 81% are concerned about the impact it will have on their business in the future. A further 42% said the process has already had a detrimental impact on their own sales.

An overwhelming 77% believe the decision to leave the European Union was wrong, and 73% would support another EU referendum, Brightpearl said.

“Retailers are extremely concerned about Brexit – but there’s much they can do to minimise its impact,” said Brightpearl CEO, Derek O’Carroll.

“Retailers must be agile with the right technologies in place that support greater flexibility, such as the ability to enter new markets with minimal investment or to test new business models. Systems that provide real-time access to data are also key for live updates on business performance and customer insights – which can be used to make more informed decisions, which will ultimately help prepare and protect a business in the wake of Brexit.”

The survey also found that 74% of retailers believe uncertainty has caused consumer spending to decline both online and instore.

“If they haven’t already, retailers should be looking to technology investments to automate as many manual elements of their operations as possible – from order processing to fulfillment – as it will help to preserve profitability whilst also offering a much more seamless and speedy shopping experience for existing customers – which is likely to keep them coming back for the long haul,” Carroll continued.

“My advice – make sure your operations are slick and you are delighting your customers every time. That’s the most sustainable strategy for riding out Brexit-related uncertainty.”

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