The chief executives of Shop Direct, Carpetright and Boden have all thrown their weight behind Britain remaining in the European Union.
Shop Direct boss Alex Baldock, Carpetright chief exec Wilf Walsh and Boden’s Julian Granville all warned against a Brexit as the countdown to the UK’s pivotal referendum on June 23 draws ever closer.
The trio gave their personal views on the vote as part of a Leadership Panel at Retail Week Live.
Boden boss Granville led the rallying cry. He said: “I am fundamentally in Europe. I think that would be the best result for our business.
“I think there are more risks to leaving. But if we do leave, funnily enough, I don’t think an enormous amount would change.
“I understand the desire of some people to separate ourselves from Europe but it’s rather like middle-aged people getting divorced. On both sides they often think: ‘this is going to be great, all my problems are going to be solved’, but they very rarely are and all the problems are still there after the divorce.”
Baldock added: “If you were taking a safety first, near-term view, you would probably vote to stay in.
“From our point of view as a business, it probably impacts us the most [out of the three on stage]. Aside from a small Irish business, we are a UK-only firm.
“But that is my personal view, we don’t have a corporate view.”
Walsh supported those views and said: “There are two issues, an emotional issue and an economic issue.
“The emotional is the argument for wanting to be an island nation, stand on our own two feet and not be bullied by the bureaucrats in Brussels.
“But if you go the way of Norway and Switzerland, you lose the free movement of people across borders.”
He joked: “I woke up the other Sunday morning and Donald Trump was leading the US presidential race and we were all waiting to see what Boris Johnson did about Europe. I told my family I couldn’t take any more!
“If Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and George Galloway are at the same house party convincing me it’s a great place to go, then include me out.
“On a personal level, I’m in.”
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