The top retail priority for Brexit negotiations will be the preservation of single market benefits, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Commenting on the referendum result, BRC ceo Helen Dickinson said: “Keeping the cost of goods down for consumers and providing certainty for businesses must be at the heart of the Government’s plans for life outside of the EU.”
In a statement, the BRC said: ‘Now that a decision has been made to leave, it is important the Government moves quickly to explain the process of disengagement from the EU. Without clarity, retailers, other businesses and hence the economy will suffer from a prolonged period of uncertainty.
“Retailers should be prepared for the possibility of significant swings, particularly in the exchange rate and consumer confidence.
“A prolonged fall in the value of the pound will impact import costs and ultimately consumer prices, but this will take time to feed through.
“In its exit negotiations, the government should aim to ensure that the trade benefits of the Single Market (ie the absence of customs duties) are replicated in the UK’s new relationship with the EU.
“However, it’s important for us all to remember that, even if the government serves notice to leave the EU tomorrow, the process of leaving the EU will take a couple of years – during which time the UK remains a member, and EU rules over free movement will continue to apply.
“Retailers will continue to focus on serving and delivering for their customers day in, day out in a highly competitive market as they do today.
“In the slightly longer term, it’s important for the government to explain how it will handle legislation that was previously the responsibility of the EU. This is likely to be a time-consuming and resource intensive process affecting a wide range of stakeholders.
“We are sure the government will put in place a clear and effective process for consulting interested parties as it reviews these regulations.
“The British public has opted to leave the EU and it is now up to the government, in conjunction with our EU neighbours, to make the most of that decision.”