The British Retail Consortium will remain neutral in the debate over Britain’s future in European Union as a vote on the matter looms.
The trade body, whose members include most of the UK’s leading retailers, said it will “not be advocating” either side of the campaign.
However, a BRC spokesman said it will urge the Government to be clear on its policies in the event of the Brexit, so that “people can make an informed choice at the referendum”.
David Cameron has called a vote for June 23 on whether Britain remains part of the European Union. A number of high-profile politicians – including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Zac Goldsmith – have come out in favour of an exit, meaning the chances of it happening have risen.
For UK retailers, many of whom have expanded in Europe, an exit from the union could affect the way business is done across the continent.
The BRC spokesman added: “Of particular importance to the retail industry will be the Government’s approach to trading with the EU and the rest of the world, and the regulatory framework for retail operations and what both these things mean for retailers ability to serve their customers.”
A letter signed by up to half of FTSE-100 bosses is expected to be published tomorrow warning a Brexit would put the “economy at risk”. Former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose is also leading the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign.
Prior to David Cameron renegotiating the UK’s relationship with Europe, the BRC published a white paper on EU reform priorities. It argued that the sector should be “considered and treated as a strategic industry for the EU economy”.
In a letter to Cameron, the BRC also asked for progress on the Single Market, international trade and better regulation.
Responding to the deal Cameron struck, the BRC said the “agreement responds in general terms to all of these points and we believe the direction of travel is the right one and as we have discussed with the Prime Minister what is needed now are concrete commitments”.