Retailers unprepared for Brexit

With the EU referendum now under a month away, 60% of British retailers have made no business plans should the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Of the 250 British retailers surveyed by Global-e, 58% wish to remain within the EU, while 31% believe leaving the EU would be better for UK retailers.

Meanwhile, 52% of these retail decision makers said a UK exit would result in a weaker economy in the short term and nearly a quarter of respondents believe leaving will make the economy stronger.

Over two-thirds (67%) of UK retailers said they are confident their businesses will continue to do well should Brexit go ahead, but 38% predict selling into the EU will become more difficult. Additionally, if the UK was to leave the EU, 20% of retailers would consider moving their headquarters to within the Eurozone.

Nir Debbi CMO and co-founder of Global-e, noted how the landscape for British retail is very uncertain at the moment.

"Cross-border commerce is driven by consumers looking for more choice online. Our findings show that even if the British public chooses to leave the EU, retailers are confident that the positive upward trend will continue," he said. "The important thing for retailers today, is therefore to prepare their operations in the short term to tackle the complexities that may incur due to the Brexit decision and the potential trade agreements changes, and continue long term plans to take advantage of rapid growth in cross-border ecommerce."

Debbi continued: "Our research shows that although the majority of retailers believe that a Brexit will result in a weaker economy (including weaker Pound sterling Vs. Euro), they aren’t making preparations to tackle the cross-border selling complexity that almost 40% of them believe will incur following it. The EU remains a huge sales opportunity, with cross-border sales in Europe set to hit €40bn by 2018 according to Forrester. With the right preparation for both scenarios, technology and processes in place, retailers can continue to see sales grow and conversion rates improve whether the UK is in or out of the European Union."

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Essential Retail will be covering the outcome of the EU referendum closely, with comments from retailers to be published in the coming weeks. For more information on Brexit, read the articles below:

What impact would a UK exit from the EU have on eCommerce?

Big Interview: Jacqueline Gold, CEO, Ann Summers on Brexit

Comment: Why retailers should vote to stay in the EU