In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we ask, on this last day of membership of the European Union, what Brexit will mean for retailers – in practical terms. It’s a question that we’ve often asked in recent years – and it’s one that remains unanswered. For, three and a half years on from June 24 2016, the day that the referendum result was announced, we know little more than we did back then. We knew than that the UK had voted to leave, but we did not know what the practical effect would be for UK retailers, many of whom sell into Europe, both online and across sales channels. All of that will emerge in the customs arrangements, tariffs and taxes that are agreed in the trading relationship with the European Union over the coming 11 months of the transition period – along with the details of how easily European workers will be able to move to work in the UK’s retail sector.
Today we also report as Amazon says its Prime membership scheme has more than 150m members, and as it reports a 20% growth in sales for its latest full-year.
French Connection has taken itself off the market and says it will instead focus afresh on its multichannel turnaround.
H&M says its work to integrate online and stores will continue as it ups expansion in developing parts of the world, while closing stores in Europe, the US and China. Wickes has set out its plans to focus on a digital-first strategy ahead of its planned spin out from the Travis Perkins group.
In today’s guest comment, Dr Cristian Grossmann of Beekeeper argues that it’s vital for retailers to give their frontline staff better access to their shift schedules to keep them happy, better able to manage their work/life balance and more likely to stay with their employer.