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EDITORIAL From Brexit to CVAs and Black Friday: the issues at the heart of retail

Brexit:a deal that works will be done

It’s notable that just hours after the Government published the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement this week, an automated email dropped into the InternetRetailing inbox notifying us that HMRC had updated its guidance on VAT, customs and excise arrangements in what it termed the “unlikely” – but evidently still entirely possible – “possibility of a no-deal EU exit”.

In the light of this week’s Parliamentary events, it’s unsurprising then that many businesses are also still preparing for the possibility of a no deal scenario: we outlined in a past edition what that means for online retailers, according to the Government’s technical notices.

In what currently seems the unlikely scenario that the draft agreement is adopted then it seems customs arrangements would stay broadly the same as they are now, as far as most online retailers are concerned. The framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK speaks of “zero tariffs, no fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all goods sectors” in “a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition”. Some categories of goods, though it’s not yet clear what, would see “checks and controls at the border”. However since the aspiration in the EU/UKWithdrawal Agreement is for the end of free movement, recruitment and staffing are the areas of retail likely to be hardest hit if this agreement ever did come into force.

In the meantime, it’s life as normal for retailers, and as Black Friday approaches we report on the latest peak trading news. In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on the latest Black Friday news as peak trading starts for many.

British Land this week put a figure on the cost of retailer CVAs and administrations to its business, as it set out how it was changing in order to adapt to the internet-driven retail revolution. That revolution is also illustrated in figures out this week from the ONS that show fashion and footwear sales moving further online. 

Our Europe editor Alex Sword has news from international property conference Mapic on Ikea’s plans for digitised in-store retailing, and on how Ahold Delhaize plans to double its online sales by 2021.

Today’s guest comment comes from Louise Richardson of Mediaworks on how technology can boost the retail supply chain.

Image: Fotolia

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