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BREXIT Forecast

BREXIT Forecast

Assuming the vote on the 23rd of June produces a majority for Brexit, we would expect the Prime Minister to come under intense public pressure to invoke article 50 of the treaties straight away and set the divorce process in motion.

In such a scenario we forecast modest growth for UK retail, but this is down to stagflation - the combination of rising prices with flat-lining demand - a night- mare scenario to manage for the Bank of England and for retailers too.

To put this into context: Post Brexit growth is not something to be celebrated, because even in 2008, the year of the greatest finan- cial crash since 1928, UK retail grew due to runaway inflation. Declines in UK retail spend are extremely rare and yet according to latest ONS data the sector is flat-lining already.

After a Brexit vote, for the second half of 2016 retail volume declines are likely. On the one hand this is a byproduct of inflation, as Sterling will come under pres- sure and most product imported from over- seas (from clothing to furniture to consumer electronics) will become much more expen- sive - we believe that UK retailers have only hedged insufficiently. Trade barriers and tar- iffs might also be erected adding even more to consumer prices. Rising prices will dampen demand.

Secondly for British shoppers there is less money going round. Another round of belt tightening will be on the agenda, driven by a crash in consumer confidence, a falling housing market, more bankruptcies, un- employment going up and wages falling again.

The big unknown is what will happen to EU citizens in the UK. We would expect a substantial amount of EU citizen to leave due to employment moving abroad (banks, insurance, law firms etc). Perhaps stricter retroactive visa requirements for low paid EU staff in warehouses, fac- tories and on farms would force many to emigrate. If this happens, from an operations standpoint there will be real headaches in the supply chain, but perhaps more impor- tantly in terms of spend the major worry is the addressable shopping pool being shrunk. Mass EU emigration and the loss of purchasing power on a greater scale could not be offset by retailers in the UK (or by re- turning British ex pat OAPs from Spain).

And at this point the BoE will be forced to raise interest rates, as UK inflation starts to soar, the oil price recovers ...


  • Executive Summary - Brexit and retail - business continuity planning
  • Total Retail Sales - The threat of stagflation to come
    • Total retail sales growth: 2007/8-14/15, negative for the first time since WW2
    • Inflation: CPI, 2007-2015, inflation has vanished, interest rates on hold
    • Inflation: monthly data, if Brexit happens inflation to come back with a vengeance
    • Inflation: the considerable risk of stagflation post Brexit
    • Total retail sales: value non-seasonally adjusted – in £billions, 2007 – 17 f
    • Population: per capita spend 2015 (£), Brexit permanently lowering the shopper base?
    • Population: what will EU migrants do in case of Brexit? Workforce impact
  • Food & Grocery - Insulated at first, then at the mercy of the discounters
    • Food & Grocery: growth 2010 – 15, forecast, inflation, volume for 2016/7
      • Table Forecast if Brexit Occurs (2016-2017)
    • Food & Grocery: in £bn 2010 - 17f, devastation of local farming, no more CAP
    • Food & Grocery: big 4 to suffer, discounters to win
  • Non Food: clothing & footwear - Industry facing an exodus
    • Clothing: Growth 2011 - 15, forecast, inflation, volume 16-17, price shock to come
      • Table Forecast if Brexit Occurs (2016-2017)
    • Clothing: Total sales (£m), 2011 – 17 f, the end of fast fashion?, tourism decline
    • Clothing: Sourcing complications outside EU, domestic revival?
    • Clothing: domestic shoppers priced out, fashionista exodus, ecommerce impact
  • Non Food: DIY and the home sectors - Homeowners: falling house prices and higher mortgages
    • The home sectors: Total growth 2010 – 15, forecast, inflation, volume 2016 – 17
      • Table Forecast if Brexit Occurs (2016-2017)
    • The home sectors: Total sales (£m) 2011 - 17f, falling house prices, impact on banks
    • The home sectors: residential property to take a hit – taking down DIY along with it
  • Online - Going back a decade?
    • Online: Total growth (%) 2011-2015, forecast 2016/7, potentially disastrous
      • Table Forecast if Brexit Occurs (2016-2017)
    • Online: Total sales (£m) 2011 - 17 f, potential brain drain
  • Outlook - Uncertain and unnecessary
    • Outlook: Brexit unpractical and threatens breakup of UK
    • Outlook: Brexit, from integration to isolation – losing decades of progress
    • Sources

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