Brexit might have most businesses around the UK tightening their belts, but the month of July proved a positive one for food and household store goods in the retail sector.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that retail sales increased by 0.3% in July this year, when compared with June.
What’s surprising to note is that all retail sectors excluding food and household goods declined in July. It was a surge in food spending that lifted the figure to 0.3% – the volume of food sales rose by 1.5% in July, having fallen by 1.1% in the previous month.
Following the release of data from the ONS, the Financial Times explained that “The higher price of food, driven by a fall in the value of sterling since last summer’s Brexit vote, has forced Britons to allocate a greater percentage of their budgets to household staples and to postpone discretionary purchases.”
The fact that the public are now increasingly watching their wallets (UK public spending as a proportion of GDP has fallen to its lowest for nearly decade) has only added to businesses’ post-Brexit fears.
Brexit and Businesses
As well as affecting the public, Brexit has been one of the main subjects of anxiety for businesses in the UK. For those with substantial business ties to the EU, the uncertainty of what trading deals will be established after Brexit is causing concern.
Surprisingly though, “over two thirds of UK businesses are not making adequate preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union”, reported the Telegraph. The news site revealed that 69% of UK businesses are not ready for the regulatory changes the Brexit process coughed up. The Telegraph added that unless businesses start preparing right now, they will struggle with the outcome.
Brexit has brought with it a vast level of uncertainty. The unknown can be worrying for businesses as it can stifle their ability to plan ahead, but the “wait and see strategy is not an option”, says Management Today. In a recent article they argue that businesses should be taking advantage of the opportunities Brexit might bring. They advised businesses to shake off their complacency and get back their entrepreneurial drive, which can create jobs and new opportunities.
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