Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, ‘Brexit’ has been a constant topic within media and news outlets, with everyone wondering how we were going to be affected.
Just over one month ago, Britain officially left the European Union however, Brexit is not complete as we are currently in an 11 month transition period. This means that the government have until the end of 2020 to reach a new trade deal agreement, or World Trade Organisation rules would be implemented. This would mean tariffs on exports to the EU, customs checks at the borders, higher costs for consumers and reduced availability of goods.
As a result of Brexit, at the end of 2019, we saw a total sales decline of 0.1 per cent – the first drop since 1995. This was due to an overall change in the retail landscape which saw hundreds of stores close all over the United Kingdom. As a result of these changes, there are fairly low levels of customer loyalty and so retailers must adapt. With Brexit making retail more uncertain, ‘retailers put customer needs first to ensure their consumer retention rates don’t suffer’, especially as difficulty trading with EU customers will become more and more prevalent over the coming months.
But now that we have left the EU and have started trade negotiations, it is imperative to the UK retail industry that brands start looking towards creating and maintaining a retail future, completely independent from the EU. It is also important to refresh the British world of retail in order for the British high street to start competing with online retail giants. It is a time of evolution and change for Britain, our high street and our retail.