Brexit has spurred the highest level of pessimism in retail chairman since 2012 as over 80% say their businesses are not ready for Brexit.

A staggering 93% of retail chairman said that they do not know what leaving the EU will mean for their business, according to Korn Ferry’s 2018 Retail Chairman Survey.

The annual survey, which interviewed the chairmen of 34 retailers with collective annual revenues exceeding £261bn, found that 94% of those surveyed believed the Government is not doing enough to help the retail sector.

Korn Ferry’s retail managing director Sarah Lim said: “Many traditional retailers are fighting a battle on multiple fronts.

“Brexit is the headline issue, but with multiple industry challenges, not least an unresolved issue on business rates, heightened competition from online players and an uneven tax system, the call-out to Government to listen and take action has never been louder.”

The survey also found that four in five chairmen believed that consumers will be more cautious in 2019 due to Brexit uncertainty and rising debt.

Despite this uncertainty, three quarters of retail chairmen expected to report growth in their own companies in 2018, with increased revenue expectations strongly linked to their online propositions.

Of the retail chairmen who anticipated “significant growth” in the current calendar year, 75% already had a strong online presence.

“Despite Brexit being imminent, the best in the sector remain confident in their own business’ abilities to capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead, with or without government intervention,” said Lim.