// M&S calls for another six-month extension to the start of checks on grocery goods moving from Great Britain into Northern Ireland
// It is the first time a supermarket has called for a further extension beyond October
// M&S said the current arrangements were threatening its ambitions to move from ‘managing mode’ into ‘investment mode’ in Ireland
Marks & Spencer has called for a further six-month extension to the start of checks on supermarket goods moving from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.
This marks the first time a supermarket has explicitly called for a further extension beyond October.
M&S said over 96 per cent of those attending backed its call to extend the current easements at a conference with over 350 of its UK and EU suppliers.
READ MORE: M&S rolls out new click-and-collect strategy
“With the clock already ticking, the sector needs certainty going into the key Christmas period,” M&S Food commercial director George Wright said.
“So while discussions continue, industry needs a six-month extension to the current easements.”
Chairman Archie Norman said last week that M&S was already cutting its Christmas range due to the uncertainty.
He told suppliers on Monday that “it’s not the overall purposes of the customs union that are the problem, it is the pointless and byzantine way in which the regime is enforced.”
He said the current EU arrangements are “totally unsuitable and were never designed for a modern fresh food supply chain between closely intertwined trading partners.”
M&S confirmed the current arrangements were threatening its ambitions to move from ‘managing mode’ into ‘investment mode’ in Ireland.
The UK and the EU are in talks over reducing the number of checks for Northern Ireland ahead of their full introduction in October.