Ikea’s Gillian Drakeford latest to pressure government on Brexit

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Gilliant Drakeford

Ikea UK’s country manager Gillian Drakeford has become the latest leading retail figure to apply pressure on the government over Brexit negotiations.

She has demanded “clarity” from Prime Minister Theresa May over the proposed transition period that will come after the UK’s official departure from the European Union.

The government has come under increasing pressure from business leaders to ensure a transition period in order to avoid a “cliff edge” and adapt to new trading paradigms.

However, a continued deadlock in trading negotiations and relative silence from the government on its plans, has created uncertainty amongst UK business.

“I’d like to see some clarity, Theresa May talked about a transition period and this would be beneficial for us to adapt to a new trading reality, to allow us to offer products at the best prices,” Drakeford told the Press Association.

“It is difficult at the moment, currency is one of the biggest things that impacts a business like ours.

“We want to keep the product at a good price for the consumer because we know that wallets are thinner, but we’ve had slight price increases in line with inflation.”

Earlier this summer, Drakeford told Retail Gazette that Ikea was invested in the UK and had no plans to jump ship amid the Brexit process.

“We’re here for the long term,” she added.

The news comes as the Swedish furniture retailer seeks to move away from large out of town warehouses, opting instead for more central smaller stores where customers can order and collect goods.

“We have four order and collection points (OCPs) in the UK, and they are very much part of a test for us in the UK but also part of a global test,” Drakeford told Retail Gazette.

“This has really been driven by consumer behaviour and the way people shop. We know today that time is important, convenience is important.”

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