- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - As Britons across the country flock to cast their vote today for the EU referendum and each side makes their final pleas, retailers still lack a solid plan in the event of a Brexit.
Previous research from e-commerce Global-E indicated that six in ten retailers in the UK did not have any plans in place to tackle any potential fallout should Britain vote to exit the EU last month. New research shows that one month later retailers in the UK have yet to take action. According to a last minute poll conducted by Oresa, executive search practice, 63 percent of retailers do not have exigency should the 'out' voters win. Oresa conduct a poll questioning MDs, Chief Executives Officer and Founders across the consumer and retail sector to see if there had been any last minute changes of heart as the EU debate reached its peak in its final days.
Majority of retailers do not have a contingency plan in the event of a Brexit
"The majority of our respondents stated they had no contingency plan in place," said Orlando Martins, CEO and Founder of Oresa. "Where possible we believe there should be some sort of short term plan in place to combat any operational disruption that may occur in the event of a Brexit but also be ready to implement any plans that may have been delayed because of the referendum, such as further International and European expansion." However, Martins adds that a contingency plan would also be very much dependent on each individual business. "As we know, it is very difficult to predict the impact a Brexit may have on a business, " he added. "Many respondents suggested the reason for not having a plan in place is there will be no immediate significant change and there will be time to plan in the time following."
One likely effect a Brexit will have, that has already set holidaymakers across the country scrambling to buy as many dollars and euros ahead of the EU referendum is the valuation of the pounds. "The major impact will be exchange rate fluctuations which will need to be managed," said Paul Kendrick, Director at Findel and formerly Bonmarché. However, others retailers were less fearful of the potential effects any short term disruptions would pose and see them as an opportunity. "The issue is perception. The pound will drop and the stock/bond markets will be volatile for a while but the reality is it makes no difference: leaving will cause a bit of carnage and that will mean opportunities for some entrepreneurs," pointed out Business Management Consultant, Mark Dugdale.
82 percent of retailers in favour of remaining in the EU
82 percent of the respondent were in favour of remaining in the European Union, which reflects recent reports that the retail industry, including the fashion industry, are backing the remain campaign. Over 1,200 business leaders signed an open letter which supported Britain staying in the EU ahead of the vote on Thursday, ranging from micro companies to the FTSE 100. Several prominent fashion industry signed the letter, including: Anya Hindmarch, designer and founder of Anya Hindmarch; Christopher Bailey, CEO and Creative head of Burberry; Brian McBride, Chairman of Asos, Andrea Slater, Grace Bonner Wales, Christopher Raeburn, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem Moralioglu; and Marc Bolland, Former CEO of Marks and Spencer.
"We know our firms are stronger in Europe," reads the letter, which was published on the Stronger in Europe website on Wednesday. "Our reasons are straightforward: businesses and their employees benefit massively from being able to trade inside the world’s largest single market without barriers. As business people, we always look to the future — and a future inside the EU is where we see more opportunities for investment, growth and new jobs."
"We know that Britain leaving the EU would mean having to re-establish terms of trade from scratch with our home market of 500 million consumers. That wouldn’t just hurt exporters but the hundreds of thousands of small and medium firms who do business with them," the letter adds. "Britain leaving the EU would mean uncertainty for our firms, less trade with Europe and fewer jobs. Britain remaining in the EU would mean the opposite: more certainty, more trade and more jobs. EU membership is good for business and good for British jobs."
Photo: By MPD01605 [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons