Retail bosses were shaken by today’s General Election result as Labour’s surge spelled further ambiguity for the sector and beyond.
Uncertainty was the word of the day as retail bosses including Richard Pennycook, Wilf Walsh and Jacqueline Gold reacted to the result of the hung parliament as Prime Minister Theresa May lost her overall majority in Parliament.
Views ranged from cautious optimism to dejection as some retailers said the result could lead to a softer Brexit deal, while others deemed May unfit to lead negotiations with the EU.
However, bosses of retailers of different sectors and sizes were united in the consensus that May’s snap election had the opposite of the desired effect, exacerbating uncertainty for shoppers and businesses rather than quelling it.
Tapi boss Martin Harris summed up the view of many a retail executive when he said: “If you think of UK plc, it was the worst result we could have had.”
While many might have thought it was a good day to bury bad news, Matalan’s results proved the opposite, as the homewares retailer posted a rise in full-year profits.
Quote of the day
“I wouldn’t put her in charge of running a kebab shop, never mind the country”
– Retail magnate Theo Paphitis on Prime Minister Theresa May
Today in numbers
M&S boss Steve Rowe’s bonus for his first full year at the helm of the department store giant
The jump in full-year EBITDA for Matalan’s parent company Missouri Topco
Look out for Retail Week’s analysis on how Sir Phillip Green can turn around Arcadia’s flagging fortunes.
Grace Bowden, reporter