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EDITORIAL How the looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit is affecting shoppers and the retail industry

In today’s InternetRetailing we’re reporting as the shortening odds on a no-deal Brexit continue to overshadow the industry – from its customers to its supply chains and its distribution networks.    

The latest figures from the BRC and KPMG, out today, suggest that retail sales continue to move online, although growth is once more slow as shoppers appear to be still nervous in the face of a no-deal Brexit. Barclaycard, meanwhile, says that shoppers spent on non-essentials over the holiday month of August but that one in five is now stockpiling against future shortages.

And we report as both the retail and logistics industry bodies predict expect future shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The BRC says there will be shortages of fresh food, despite claims by Government no-deal planner Michael Gove to the contrary, while the FTA is holding its first Labour Shortages Conference, an event to help its members retain and recruit drivers and other staff. HMRC, meanwhile, is investing £16m to help businesses – including exporting retailers – to train their staff in handling customs declarations for EU exports.

Small wonder that many UK retailers are investing in Europe to ensure that their trade with the continent continues. Today we report as Made opens a new European fulfilment centre, while European retailers including MediaMarkt and Decathlon extend their own networks. From our European coverage we also draw on insights into how Zalando is piloting the use of robots in its Hannover distribution centre. 

Our preview of IRC 2019 today takes the form of an interview with Henry Eccles of Google on the relationship between retailers, customers and media owners, while today’s guest comment comes from Steve Borges of Biglight who considers three disruptive US retail trends that are on their way here – and how brands can adapt to them. 

Image: Fotolia

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