Six in ten British retailers have not made plans to deal with any potential fallout from Britain leaving the European Union next month, a survey released on Wednesday 25 May showed.
According to a poll carried out by cross-border e-commerce firm Global-e, 60% of the 250 British retailers surveyed have made no business plans whatsoever should Britain vote to come out of the EU in June.
A surprising 96% of retail sole traders have admitted making no business provisions at all for a potential Brexit, the poll found. Among the different businesses surveyed, medium-sized retailers are most prepared for a potential Brexit with 54% saying they had made contingency plans for an EU exit.
Medium-sized businesses are also those most in favour of Britain leaving the EU, with 54% saying they supported the 'Leave' campaign, compared to 24% of respondents in companies with more than 500 employees.
"Now is an uncertain and potentially disruptive time for British retailers, particularly those that are operating across European borders," said Global-e co-founder Nir Debbi.
"Cross-border commerce is driven by consumers looking for more choice online. Our findings show that even if the British public chooses to leave the EU, retailers are confident that the positive upward trend will continue."
The survey also found that 53% of the respondents think a Brexit will make the economy weaker and importing goods from overseas will become more expensive, while 24% of them feel it will make the economy stronger.
The same percentage expect prices to remain unchanged should Britain leave the EU, while 52% think prices in UK stores are likely to increase should the UK leave the 28-country bloc. Crucially, however, 67% of the firms polled were confident their businesses would continue to flourish internationally should a Brexit happen. When asked about cross-border sales to EU countries, 38% of retailers said selling to EU countries will become more complicated, while 26% believe a Brexit would not have any tangible impact on sales outside the UK.
"The important thing for retailers today, is therefore to prepare their operations in the short term to tackle the complexities that may occur due to the Brexit decision and the potential trade agreement changes, and continue long-term plans to take advantage of rapid growth in cross-border ecommerce," Debbi added.