M&S chair warns EU proposals on Northern Ireland to increase red tape

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// M&S chairman Archie Norman issues fresh warning to govt after fears that EU proposals on transit of goods to Northern Ireland will increase friction for businesses
// He expressed concerns about measures offered by Brussels offering to ease checks on goods coming from Britain into Northern Ireland

Marks & Spencer chairman Archie Norman has warned Brexit minister Lord Frost that EU proposals on the transit of goods to Northern Ireland will increase friction and cost for businesses.

Norman wrote in a letter that the Brussels offer “could result in worsening friction and cost and a high level of ambiguity and scope for dispute”.

The UK is seeking to rewrite the deal which left Northern Ireland within the EU single market for goods even after Brexit.


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That protocol was designed to prevent the return of a trade border with the Republic – but has also effectively imposed a border between Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea.

The UK says the way the protocol is being applied by the EU is unsustainable and is threatening to trigger Article 16 – which would suspend parts of the Brexit treaty.

Norman has now expressed concerns about measures offered by Brussels offering to ease checks on goods coming from Britain into Northern Ireland.

The proposals include labelling to ensure British products do not slip through the border into the Republic of Ireland, in the EU.

Norman said that labelling requirement would add £9 million in extra costs annually for the 90 million products the retailer ships to Northern Ireland from mainland Britain.

Altogether, and when including other checks, it would mean fresh goods taking 45 hours longer to reach stores than before Brexit.

This could result in M&S having to stop sending some product lines to Northern Ireland.

Norman called for a “risk-based regime” with limited checks on goods that would make use of digital technology.

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1 COMMENT

  1. A very positive suggestion. Supermarkets can eliminate cashier tills using digital tech. Savvy minds can surely resolve this problem that politicians and bureaucrats have created.

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