The first set of the Government plans for a no-deal Brexit revealed changes that could impact convenience stores including additional costs for food importers, new tobacco pack health warnings, changes to product labelling and reduced immigration.
A statement by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors warned exiting the EU without a trade deal would cause supplier price increases. “The food and drink wholesale distribution sector will face further upward pressure,” it read.
There were no major changes to VAT rates, no changes to workers’ rights, a continuation of EU food standards and no clear answer for the Irish border issues. Eugene Diamond, owner of Diamonds News-agent in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, commented: “This Government statement justifies all the worries people in Northern Ireland had about the cost of leaving.”
Read more on this story: Retailers fear negative impact of no-deal Brexit
What are the opportunities and threats for convenience stores from Brexit negotiations?
“The reassurance we need is around food prices as there’s a lot of speculation as to how it will impact suppliers. With the CO2 shortages over the summer, we’ve seen what can happen when a logistics issue knocks out one category, a bad Brexit deal has the potential to at least temporarily do the same for every area of a store. We’re starting to see inflation in core products, which shows how vulnerable the market is to disruption.”
Tolga Francisco, Simply Fresh Bramble Street, Coventry
“The aspect I’ve thought about is how many good workers we’ve lost. We used to have a lot of Hungarian and Polish staff and they were fantastic, but with the uncertainty in the UK, migrant workers are choosing to go elsewhere and it’s becoming difficult to find new staff, especially in areas where there isn’t a large pool of service industry staff. If I’m feeling the pinch in this area, I’d imagine farmers are, too.”
Roli Ranger, Londis Sunninghill, Surrey
“I normally try and stay out of politics, but I do wish we’d stayed in, to be honest. I think it will have a big effect on multinational businesses pulling out and prices going up – both of these will have an impact on local shops. I think people thought it would be a quick and easy separation, many of those will surely be looking at where we are at more than two years on and wondering what it is really going to be like.”
Mark Stubbs, Dereham News, Dereham Norfolk