SME retailers face “life or death” scenario as Brexit nears

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small retailers Brexit
// SME retailers face “life or death” scenario as the no-deal Brexit becomes more likely
// Ready For Brexit boss Paul Hodges: change will “inevitably create winners and losers”
// Thousands of small businesses taking steps to plan for possible no-deal Brexit

Small and medium-sized retailers in the UK are facing a “life or death” point as the no-deal Brexit becomes more likely and demands from overseas to cover extra costs increases.

Ready For Brexit boss Paul Hodges, who offers businesses advice on customs, tax, and employment regulations should the UK crash out of the EU without a deal, said the level of change will “inevitably create winners and losers”.

Hodges also said that small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) should follow the lead of larger businesses by proposing a drastic contingency plan.

“Most of the 16.3 million people who work in UK SMEs are under the age of 50, and have always operated within the single market and customs union,” he said.

“They often ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ about operating under WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules.”

Many UK firms are bound to long-term contracts that pre-date the referendum and will have no choice but to face extra costs if a trade deal is not reached before March 29, the date that the UK officially divorces from the EU.

Up to thousands of companies are reportedly taking steps to plan for Brexit by relocating jobs and completely closing down UK operations.

Meanwhile, retailers such as Tesco, The Entertainer, Pets at Home and Marks and Spencer have stockpiled products.

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