A quarter (25%) of small UK retail businesses admit they are fearful of Brexit, data from YouGov* – analysed by Vend – reveals today.
Vend accessed a research sample of over 1,000 senior managers in the retail sector, working at organisations with fewer than 20 staff, on YouGov’s Profiles tool – and collated data which reveals what the group think about Brexit.
The results show that 80% think the talks with the European Union are not going well, with another 26% saying that they are feeling less confident about Brexit than they were when the referendum took place in 2016.
Meanwhile, nearly a third (32%) of small retail businesses believe Britain’s global influence will decrease because of Brexit.
Higor Torchia, UK Country Manager for Vend said:
“The UK retail sector has a huge international footprint, both in the staff it employs and the supply chain it sources through, so it’s understandable that some retailers are nervous about what will happen after March 2019. But UK retailers are an innovative bunch and have succeeded through many ups and downs over the generations, and we know that they are bullish about the future. Conversations we are having with Vend customers across the UK, show that many are already putting preparatory measures in place so they are in the strongest possible position, post-Brexit.”
Yaw Djang, co-founder of Manchester based home and giftware store Oklahoma, is one such retailer.
He said: “Since the result of the referendum we’ve seen prices from suppliers starting to rise. This cost needs to be picked up somewhere, and in the short-term it’s us that’s having to take the hit.
“However, we’re determined to take measures into our own hands and make the most of the Brexit situation. One angle we’re looking at is manufacturing our own products here in the UK, so we’re less reliant on the external supply chain. The UK independent scene has a lot to be proud of, and taking preparational measures like this will guarantee our future.”
Alice Mayor, owner of London-based souvenir retailer We Built This City, agrees.
She said: “The uncertainty of Brexit, coupled with the rising rates we’ve found ourselves subject to, means the future certainly looks challenging. But we’re not ones to take that lying down and we’re innovating to ensure we’re always improving our appeal to shoppers.
“For We Built This City, it’s all about evolving our business from just pure retail into an experience-led destination bursting with unique and memorable reasons to visit – and keep returning. Our business is rooted around a core social purpose to support London’s creative community and we already offer a series of pop-up exhibitions, hands-on workshops and even the opportunity to watch an artist transform our storefront on Carnaby into a live art canvas – but there’s so much more we can offer. We’ll be looking to collaborate even closer with our incredible artist network to co-create a standout experiential offer for our UK and international customers on Carnaby.”