Following on from cardies’ initial reactions to the election result on Tuesday’s PGBuzz, five more industry bods talk to PGBuzz about what they think the result might mean to business.
One week on from the General Election, it seems the country is just as confused as it was, if not more, with PM Theresa May’s talks with the DUP dragging on and on.
Paul Woodmansterne, managing director of Woodmansterne, sums up the feeling quite neatly: “This country could have been going from strength to strength; instead, we have more unnecessary worry and upheaval. Whatever happens over the next weeks and months, it is inevitable that imported materials will try to force up prices in the shops. But, with any luck, these political results have now been so catastrophic that the stoic British will simply ignore their troubles and just ‘carry on regardless’. It’s at times like these that people throw caution to the wind.”
Consumer confidence and spending has been up and down all year, so it will be interesting to see the impact the result does have on spending. “Last Thursday does nothing to help an already beleaguered pound but in truth we’ve all had to get used to it since last June,” says Matt Genower, co-founder of Five Dollar Shake. “Goods are generally more expensive than a year ago. No industry needs a lack of consumer cash flow, least of all ours. But for now not a great deal changes for independent customers and retailers buying product overseas who already know the financial challenges. As for publishers, much is produced here in the UK but it’s the knock on effect of retailers feeling the pinch that will have the greatest implication.”
It’s the rising prices that are most likely to impact on us all as Chris Bryan, co-general manager of Second Nature comments: “Sterling has taken another backward step which means costs for publishers printing overseas will continue to look a little bleak, whatever the flip side of the appeal to export markets is. All that is clear is that there’ll be a continued period of uncertainty which is rarely ever a good thing. The ray of light is that a softer Brexit may just make Joe Public feel a little easier in the long run and a negative outlook can become a self-fulfilling prophecy so happy smiles and best foot forward!”
Yes, the positive to come out of all of this might be in the Brexit negotiations. “If Theresa May has been halted in her tracks and has to re-think the negotiations for Brexit this could be a good thing for all I feel,” says Andrew Illingworth, sales director of gift company Widdop and Co that has recently diversified into cards. “We export to over 70 countries in the world and the last thing we want is to over-complicate the procedures and paperwork and bureaucracy. We need to access to markets and we need to have some movement of people and access to more labour to support our fast changing service sector.”
But for Miles Robinson co-owner of five House of Cards stores, he believes the result probably won’t change anything. He says: “The major things affecting retailing have not gone away and the result will make little or no difference. Lack of footfall, business rates unfit for purpose, living wage increases way above inflation, high rents and parking are all major issues and so far no one from any party is addressing these.”