Retailers will have to ponder the practical consequences of an anti-establishment mindset, evidenced in last weekend’s European elections.
Britain, like much of Europe, is in a bad mood.
While politicians are bearing the brunt of an anti-establishment mindset, evidenced in last weekend’s European elections, retailers will have to ponder the potential practical consequences.
Although the focus of the past few days has been on Europe, where years of instability and economic difficulties have affected the performance of international operations ranging from Dixons’ Greek business to Marks & Spencer’s Irish arm, the most immediate concern may be closer to home.
In September, Scotland will vote on independence and there may be big implications for the retail industry.
Top retailers, notably some of the supermarket chiefs, have warned that separation might force them to pass on increased business costs to Scottish consumers.
Devolution has already added complexity to retailing in the UK, whether it’s plastic bag taxes in Wales or the idea of a levy on big stores in Northern Ireland.
Retailers have traditionally sold products at the same price from Islington to Inverness but that might end if Scotland goes its own way.
Whether it’s more and different regulation or higher distribution costs, a change to the country’s status might well result in higher prices in Scotland’s stores.
And if Scottish shoppers find their money is not going as far as it once did, the result may be reined-in spend.
Retailers should continue to point out the implications of the choices on offer. The hope must be that will help ensure the health of the industry that – as such a big employer – will in turn help ensure the economic health of the country.