• Leave has won the referendum and the UK will quit the European Union
  • David Cameron has resigned as UK Prime Minister
  • BRC says retailers “top priority in the short term will be to ensure continued ease and minimum additional costs of importing EU goods into the UK”
  • UKIP leader Nigel Farage said it is “independence day”
  • 72% turned out to vote
  • The pound has fallen to the lowest point since 1985

UK voters have had their say and opted to leave the European Union. Follow all the reaction from the retail industry here: 

9.40 Retail food sector to perform relatively well

Interesting thoughts from analysts Stifel:

”We think the UK food retail sector will perform well relative to the rest of the UK market today.

“The most important implications for the sector of Brexit are the potential for cost price inflation given high levels of imported goods, a potential slowdown in population growth and the impact of uncertainty on UK consumer spending.

“Of these three, we think inflation is the most significant. While we think that competitive pressures will limit inflation pass through, history suggests that consumers do not fully trade down to offset very high levels of inflation, meaning the industry is likely to return to much-needed top-line growth. There should be little offset from cost inflation outside the COGS line.

“Of the three names, Tesco additionally stands to benefit from translating international profits but also has a higher proportion of discretionary (non food) sales.”  

9.20 Retail analysts Verdict give their view

Maureen Hinton, global research director says: 

“For retailers the immediate issue is the fall in the pound and whether it will remain weak for a sustained period. This will impact costs as most buying is done in US$ and will push up prices – however it is a benefit for those selling internationally as it makes UK goods more competitively priced.”

Patrick O’Brien, content director says:

“Retailers need to prepare for a period of high volatility – consumer confidence will be very fragile during a prolonged period of political instability. With import costs rising with the fall in the value of the pound, prices will rise, and many people will put off big ticket purchases until they have more confidence in their own personal economic prospects.

“Heavy share price falls at housebuilders point to market concerns over housing price falls and a slowing number of transactions, which will lead to a contraction of sales at home related retailers.”


8.35 BRC statement on Brexit

“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.

“We are already seeing the commencement of a period of considerable volatility as financial markets react to any emerging information that might indicate how the new relationship to the EU might be shaped. Retailers should be prepared for the possibility of significant swings, particularly in the exchange rate and consumer confidence.

“In order to keep prices down and to deliver the best possible choice for consumers, retailers’ top priority in the short term will be to ensure the continued ease and minimum additional costs of importing EU goods into the UK for sale to customers. 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 (i.e. the absence of customs duties) are replicated in the UK’s new relationship with the EU.

”However, it is 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 addition to goods traded with the EU, the Government will need to define the rules that will apply to goods traded with other countries. The BRC stands ready to advise them on this. In the slightly longer term, its 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.”

Chief executive Helen Dickinson adds: “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.” 

8.23 David Cameron to quit as Prime Minister 

David Cameron will step down in Ocotber after losing the campaign to remain in the EU.

He said: “The country requires fresh leadership” and ”It would not be right for me to be the captain”.

He added there will be “no immediate change in our circumstances or in the way our goods can be sold”.

8.19 Retail analyst Nick Bubb said the potential shock is a ”massive concern”

“Whether you think that today is “Independence Day” or not, there is no doubt that the potential shock to the London housing and jobs market from the Leave the EU vote is a massive concern and that today is going to be “Black Friday” on the stockmarket, with a sea of red on the screens first thing this morning and sterling slumping.”

8.15 The London stock market has plunged 7% 

In the opening minutes of trade, the London stock market has fallen more than 7%. The FTSE 100 index has fallen around 500 points to 5,858.17.

The Bank of England said it is “monitoring developments closely” and will take “all necessary steps” to support monetary stability.

8.12: Suggestions that David Cameron may step down later today

8.01: Dixons Carphone chief executive said it feels “strange and unsettling”

7.50 CBI general director Carolyn Fairbairn comments on the impact for UK businesses

7.37: David Cameron is expected to make an announcement at 8.15am

The Prime Minister is expected to address the “divided” nation in around 30 minutes.

Jeremy Corbyn is also due to give an announcement this morning. The Labour leader has been described this morning as “completely delusional” by some Labour MPs.

7.31: Accountancy firm Menzies LLP partner Roberto Lobue comments on the impact of the Brexit on the retail sector

Menzies LLP partner Roberto Lobue said: “UK retailers will have to wait to see what a post-Brexit Britain will look like. It is likely to continue to be a disruptive time for many with considerable uncertainty affecting areas including long-term contracts, business taxation, customs duties, the strength of sterling and the continued employment of EU citizens, at least until new treaties are agreed with the EU and EFTA.

“This unpredictability should not be used as an excuse for complacency, however. Responding to this decision will require some urgency, particularly in areas like supply chain relationships. Retailers have to remain competitive and need to be able to react quickly as and when the picture of life outside the EU becomes clearer.”

7.27: Former Game boss Ian Shepherd tweets “I genuinely can’t believe it”

7.21: Chief counting officer Jenny Watson reveals the final figures

Watson has confirmed that the total number of people who voted Out is 17,410,742 - 51.9%. A total of 48.1% - 16,141,241 people - voted Remain.

Nigel Farage said: “Even the weather has improved. It is a victory for ordinary people. I’m proud of everybody for having the courage to stand up and do the right thing.”

7.10: The Bank of England has said that it will take “all necessary steps for monetary and financial stability”.

Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to give a statement in the next hour.

6.57: The UK has voted to leave the European Union

The Leave camp has been victoririous with a narrow 51.8% of the vote, equitable to 17,410,742 voters.

Only 48.2% of the UK - 16,141,241 people - voted to Remain.

Retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis revealed earlier this week that he was in favour of a Brexit, describing the EU as a ‘failed experiment’.

Likewise, Next boss Lord Wolfson threw his weight behind the Brexit campaign claiming that Britain will be more prosperous out of the European Union.

However, Ocado’s boss and Dixons Carphone’s chairman were among 1,280 business leaders to sign a letter backing the Remain campaign.

In a last-minute attempt to help the Remain campaign, Tim Steiner, Charles Dunstone, Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold, Burberry boss Christopher Bailey, Asos chairman Brian McBride and Asda chief executive Andy Clarke signed the letter, published in The Times.

The letter said: “We know our firms are stronger in Europe. Our reasons are straightforward: businesses and their employees benefit massively from being able to trade inside the world’s largest single market without barriers…Britain leaving the EU would mean uncertainty for our firms, less trade with Europe and fewer jobs.”

Waterstones boss James Daunt also backed the Remain campaign,s claiming in a letter to employees that a Brexit would have “adverse” effects and result in job losses.

Majestic Wine boss Rowan Gormley also warned a Brexit would push up the price of wine as the cost of imported goods will inevitably rise.

Retail Week executive editor George MacDonald and editor-in-chief Chris Brook-Carter also went head to head as retailers prepared for yesterday’s poll.

A report by the Economist Intelligent Unit warned that the economic shock of a Brexit would cause retail sales volumes to fall by 3% next year. The study claimed that a vote to leave the EU would have resulted in a “short and relatively sharp retail shock” with sales volumes “flattening out” in 2016.

It predicted that by 2020 “nominal” retail sales will be 6% lower than if the UK votes to remain in the EU.