1/3 of British retailers expect downturn after Brexit


Almost one-third of British retailers fully anticipate Britain‘s exit from the European Union will have a negative impact on business, according to a survey.

New research from VoucherCodes, 32 per cent of UK retailers anticipate the adverse impact on business after Brexit, while just over half — 51 per cent — prepare for increased overseas competition.

The report, which analyses attitudes towards the changing face of the retail industry, also highlights how only four per cent of retailers have confidence in British retail following the result of the Brexit referendum.

Other key findings in the survey include the way two-thirds of retailers have concerns about the unpredictability of the industry, one quarter will be investing heavily in mobile commerce in order to stay ahead of the game, 31 per cent plan to redesign their online presence, while 99 per cent have considered new technology investment as part of their business strategies during the next 12 months.

In addition, 90 per cent of retailers said it was impossible to predict what skills would be needed in the industry in five years‘ time, while seven in 10 predict that customers would be shopping in an entirely different and unforeseen way by 2022.

“The watchword for the next 12 months or so is ‘uncertainty‘. Retailers will obviously continue to keep one wary eye on the ongoing Brexit negotiations in Brussels, and another on the fluctuating pound,” VoucherCodes senior director of marketing Paul Lewis said.

“No one can predict the direction the industry is heading post-Brexit, so retailers must future-proof their businesses by focusing on areas of investment and adaptability where customer demand is high.

“Smart retailers will be mindful of the changing industry whilst simultaneously focusing on the opportunities they can see on the horizon in order to keep up with customer demand – investing in new technology to revamp online platforms, as well as technology to invigorate physical stores, turning them into powerful brand differentiators in their own right.”

The research was carried out by VoucherCodes in conjunction with WBR and surveyed 100 senior executives at major UK retailers from the fashion, luxury, sports, homeware, consumer electronics and DIY sectors.

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