BRC appoints William Bain to accelerate its research and further strengthen its voice on Brexit

BRC appoints William Bain to accelerate its research and further strengthen its voice on Brexit

LONDON, 2017-Jun-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has appointed William Bain to accelerate its research and further strengthen its voice on Brexit.

Bain’s previous experience includes five and a half years as a Member of Parliament, during which he served as Shadow Food and Farming Minister, and was a member of the BIS Select Committee working on inquiries which focused on trade issues. Since leaving Westminster, he has worked as a consultant to companies on the implications of Brexit. He is reporting to Andrew Opie, the Director of Food Policy at the BRC.

Bain will work on the BRC’s Fair Brexit For Consumers campaign, which is aimed at supporting the Government in ensuring a fair deal for consumers in negotiations with the EU.

The BRC’s recently published research advocated a “smart Brexit”. Its Tariff Roadmapmade the case for an orderly and sequenced process that prioritises across the board tariff-free arrangements with the EU before securing new trading relationships with the rest of the world. The research found that:

  • Retailers directly import approximately £5 billion of food products and indirectly import approximately £15 billion through wholesalers or manufacturers;
  • The weighted average tariff, if the UK were to default to WTO tariffs on UK food imports from the EU, would be 22 per cent;
  • New partners in the rest of the world present a big opportunity as nearly half the UK’s non-food imports come from countries where there is no pre-existing EU trade arrangements. If new deals were negotiated with these countries, UK retailers could see reductions in tariffs on clothes of 12 per cent and leather handbags at three per cent, for example.


Commenting on the announcement, Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said:

“The retail industry’s biggest priority is to work alongside the Government to secure a fair Brexit for consumers. This means ensuring that ordinary shoppers aren’t hit with the cost of unwanted new tariffs and the UK is able to build new trading relationships with the rest of the world in the long-term. William’s experience and skills will further strengthen the BRC’s voice on crucial trade and regulation issues during a pivotal period of time.”

William Bain said:

“The retail industry is at the epicentre of the changes ahead arising from the UK’s transition to a new relationship with the European Union involving some of our biggest markets and industry supply chains. I’m thrilled to be part of the BRC’s pioneering work as the voice of the industry at such an important time for UK businesses and consumers.”


Notes to Editors

  1. View BRC’s ‘Tariff Road Map For The Next Government here. It includes a digestible ‘road map’ highlighting the need for an orderly and sequenced process that will ensure risks are mitigated and opportunities are seized, a breakdown of food imports and non-food imports by retailers and a map that illustrates the UK’s trade relationships, tariffs and the potential threats and opportunities around different products.



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BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE responds to Theresa May’s speech on Brexit


“The Prime Minister has an ambitious plan with the right priorities. It is crucial that Britain gets a new deal that works for ordinary British consumers, which doesn’t hit them with the costs of new import tariffs at a time when the pound is already weakened. The Government has an opportunity to secure a win-win deal that works for the UK economy, by keeping prices down for consumers, while allowing the EU to continue benefiting from its open-trade relationship with the UK.

“This deal will take time to agree. The proposed ‘phased introduction’ must at all costs avoid the cliff-edge scenario – a sudden and overnight change in trading conditions that won’t benefit anyone. The number one priority for an orderly exit should be to allow all goods traded between the EU and the UK to be in free circulation.”

On the transfer of EU regulation:

“We welcome the clarity provided by the Government’s intention to transfer existing EU-based regulation into UK-based regulation.  Transferring responsibility for regulation from the EU to the UK will be a complicated task, taking up enormous resource. The focus should be ensuring the smooth transition from EU to UK law. Substantive reform will have to wait until we have left the EU.”

On the status of EU colleagues:

“Workers from the European Union are part of the reason that British retailers are often able to deliver affordable and high-quality goods. The Government is right to signal reassurance to EU workers throughout our UK supply chains about their right to remain here.”

Notes to Editors:

Retailers have come together to evaluate the impact of different potential trading arrangements, the analysis of which will be published by the British Retail Consortium soon.



Source: BRC

Kantar Retail: British FMCG suppliers and the Brexit

Boston, MA, 2016-Jun-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Shock has arrived on the back of the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union and Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to resign.  This shock has resulted in a “Black Friday” effect in financial markets with the price of British Pounds Sterling plummeting and stock markets searching for direction.

Kantar Retail’s analyst team has gathered to give our initial views on both short-term and long-term exposure to the effects of Brexit on a retailer by retailer basis.

Our Analytical Framework

In order to help clients understand the effects of Brexit on each retailer in the FMCG landscape, we have chosen to focus on a few key topics.  These topics revolve around European Union principles.  Namely, the principles related to the free movement of services, free movement of goods, and free movement of people.  It is our belief that the shock of Brexit will impact movement of services most profoundly in the short-term, followed by movement of goods in the medium term, and finally movement of people in the longer-term.


Using this framework, we asked each of our retail analysts to write down the biggest factors that each retailer will need to consider when developing a post-Brexit game plan.

Post-Brexit Game Plans

One of the easiest ways to think about Britain’s FMCG retailer landscape is in three groups:

  1. Retailers with their headquarters in Britain
  2. Retailers with their headquarters in the European Union (excluding Britain)
  3. Retailers with their headquarters outside the European Union & Britain

We have created a chart to help you visualize this landscape.

Brexit_t2Retailer by Retailer Considerations

British Retailers

Retailers with headquarters inside Britain will primarily be concerned in the early stages about the financial market effects.  In the short-term their ability to import goods from the European Union will be adversely effected by a weaker Pound:Euro exchange rate. Nearly all retailers will look inward to source locally and we at Kantar Retail feel that the retailers that have done the best job of cultivating good relations with British farms and fisheries will do better than their peers in the immediate term.


The mid-term effect of goods sourcing is likely to be the largest factor of consideration for British retailers. The prices of fresh produce will definitely go up as much of this is sourced from the EU. In the case of Tesco, for example, almost 50% of butter and cheese consumed in the UK comes from milk sourced from EU markets. Inflationary pressures will further boost the call for locally-sourced/manufactured products as the retailers’ ability to source from the EU suppliers offering better trade terms is adversely impacted. Higher commodity prices and tariffs will also impact production of traditional FMCG products, even though a significant proportion of good are produced locally. Supply chain costs are likely to go up due to higher trade tariffs.

Human Resources

While labor costs aren’t likely to be significantly impacted considering the introduction of minimum wages; the availability of talent – from senior leaders to store staff – will be impacted.

Individual Retailer-by-Retailer Considerations

Tesco has strong interests in Central Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) and Brexit will impact cash inflows and outflows, as well as the company’s ability to invest.  Sainsbury’s may reconsider its current Netto business in partnership with Dansk Supermarket. Morrisons is well-situated as its processing plants are based locally in the UK.  However, it will be more exposed to commodity price fluctuations due to its membership in the European buying group AMS. Marks & Spencer sources most of its products locally, but its French supermarkets will be exposed to the Brexit changes.

European Union Retailers

Europe’s largest traditional retailers have not found strong success in Britain over the years.  Carrefour attempted to trade in the UK but gave up on that after poor results in the mid-1980s.  Few others have even attempted to trade in the UK.  However, Europe’s discounters, Aldi & Lidl, have not only attempted to trade in the UK but they have reshaped the trade in recent years.

There are several factors which will help discounters Aldi and Lidl absorb the rise in food prices and inflation – namely its limited range, having the leanest supply chains in retail and most importantly their economies of scale.

Crucially, in their attempts to position themselves as genuine weekly shopping destinations, both Aldi and Lidl have drastically increased and improved their fresh offer, with sales from fruit and vegetable, meat, poultry and bread now accounting for 50% of sales. In this time, they have been the most proactive in driving provenance and localism, with Aldi implementing a 100% British fresh meat policy. This heightened relationship with British farmers means they are in a stronger position than their rivals in the immediate term.

Lidl alone will Invest GBP1.5 Billion over the next three years in building new stores, refurbishing existing ones and developing new product lines.  These investment plans are likely to remain unchanged and with the value of the pound dropping, the Billions of Euros set aside at their HQs in Germany are now set to go a lot further. As a result, Aldi and Lidl are certainly primed to be the least affected retailers. Indeed they may be the ones to benefit in the short and medium term.

Non-European, Non-British Retailers

America’s largest retailers have had the most profound effect on British FMCG retailing. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer by sales of directly controlled products, purchased ASDA in the 1990s and has dominated the weekend stock-up shopping trip in many of Britain’s towns and communities ever since. Costco, the world number 3 retailer, has had a more difficult time in Britain with rules constraining the types of members to whom it can sell its services.  Amazon has had a much bigger impact in recent years than any of the other non-European retailers with services like Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now, and most recently Amazon Prime Fresh changing the nature of retailing and falling high on the list of topics consumers, analysts, and retailers discuss when thinking about how shopping may change in the future.  Walgreens, the world’s largest drugstore retailer, has also helped Boots after acquiring the chain a few years ago. The biggest assistance Walgreens has provided is giving Boots better access to global commodities and capital markets.

One other retailer stands out as having a strong impact on the UK – Hong Kong’s AS Watson group, a leader in health & beauty retailing.  AS Watson owns the Super drug and Savers drug chains which tend to trade well with non-British European citizens.  As a result, this company will be more focused on the longer term impact on its shopper base.

All of the non-British, non-EU retailers will benefit from a weaker pound in terms of being able to have their investments go further but will likely be hedging their exposure to lower profits and revenues coming from the UK.  This will be good for Walmart as ASDA has performed extremely poorly in the last six months.  For Amazon and Costco the size of the UK business is still small enough to be of lower concern.

The eCommerce Impact

Amazon UK

Amazon should be able to quickly capitalize on the current situation given their position as a “search when you are in a panic” status.

As a case study, this is what was happening this morning across Europe:brexit tweet 1brexit tweet 2Brexit tweet 3


Amazon is also incredibly creative when it comes to working across borders so we expect Amazon to do very well in the short-term.

Ocado on the other hand is handicapped.  Imports will be strongly reduced and Ocado will be leaning towards a higher reliance in local suppliers in the short term.

Ocado operates three warehouses in London, accounting for most of its employees. The cost of acquiring talent for its technology centres will be higher, but their couriers and warehouse operators will not be impacted in the short term. The main implication in terms of labour will be a higher collaboration with local suppliers, creating a more intricate logistics around the fresh product sourcing.


Overall Summary:  Next Steps for Retailers

Retailers will need to go to work.  Beyond the obvious work around Procurement, HR, and Investor Relations, retailers will need to develop new long-term connections.  Regulations are going to change.  Retailers will need to keep up on these changes and make a different set of plans to manage these changes.  We see three big areas requiring a large amount of focus for retailers in the UK.  These are:

  • Data.   The European Union has spent extraordinary amounts of time setting rules on personal data privacy, corporate data security, policing of data and other issues related to cloud computing, data sharing and survey work.  The types of data that retailers have access to, how they gain access to it, and how they protect it will change.
  • Food Labeling and Food Packaging.  The European Union has had a powerful effect on how retailers label and package goods.  These rules will change and UK retailers will need to take advantage of or react to these changes.
  • Social and Environmental.  Up to now, the environmental rules and social rules governing retail in the UK have largely been shaped by European Union rules that have a future deadline well in advance of the present.  As these change, retailers will likely be able to argue for different regulations and will have to deal with a different group of legislators.


Overall Summary:  Implications for FMCG Suppliers

FMCG suppliers will need to understand the impact, and more importantly, the reaction, of different retailers in both the short and medium term.  With a devalued British Pound and a UK economy facing recessionary fears, suppliers will need to double-down on unlocking value from the supply chain.  This should be done in the context of understanding shopper changes first. Shoppers, facing uncertainty, are likely to cut back on spending and delay large purchase decisions.

FMCG suppliers should remember that FMCG retailers operating in the UK will be rocked by three waves of change.  The first wave will be related to banking, currency, and financial market changes.  This will affect how retailers think about their investments and debts.  Many of the retailers would have already taken steps to reduce exposure to these problems so this should not be the main priority for FMCG suppliers looking to build new strategies with retailers.  In the near term they are likely to reduce or delay capital spending and other large projects.

The second wave of change is the most important consideration for FMCG suppliers. In the second wave we will see large changes in the flow of goods in and out of Britain. We see the most difficult step for retailers related to changing sources for fresh produce to accommodate the higher cost of purchasing items sourced in Euros.  In the short-term, consumers will likely see higher prices and in the longer term all retailers will be looking to source from new directions.

While the second wave will be related to what retailers sell, the third wave will be related to people. On one side, retailers will need to readjust their plans around hiring and staffing.  On the other side, retailers will also need to adjust their plans around consumers that shop their stores.  This will take some time to get a clear picture and will only emerge after negotiations take place.


Call to Action

We at Kantar Retail encourage FMCG suppliers to take the following steps:

  1. Update BREXIT risk analysis to include customer by customer assessments on both the profit and loss impact (cost of goods and operating costs) as well as balance sheet (cost of debt, ability to borrow, capital spending, and working capital costs)
  2. Develop ways to unlock value from the supply chain
  3. Stay close in touch with changing shopper values, particularly those that are exposed to Brexit concerns related to their finances and investments
  4. Build top-to-top plans focused on helping leading retailers make a smooth transition and schedule the meetings as soon as the opportunity is right
  5. Align trade terms length with retailers in the UK to the Brexit timetable(s)
  6. Manage the transition away from European sourcing supply chains and integrated pricing platform planning platforms
  7. Prepare a transition team to help manage and coordinate the transition

As always, Kantar Retail’s teams are prepared to advise, consult, and answer your questions.


Press Contact:

All press and media enquiries to:

Victoria Bradshaw,
Global Communications Manager
T: +44 (0) 1372 825 391

Source:Kantar Retail