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Brexit boost for Boris from UK consumer businesses

Published:  11 February, 2020

Consumer businesses are overwhelmingly confident that the government will negotiate a good Brexit deal, according to a new survey from financial services consultancy RSM.

More than 70% of businesses in the retail, hospitality and travel sectors back the government, with 81% generally optimistic about the prospects for their companies in the year ahead.

Confidence was highest among was hotel and accommodation providers at 87%, and travel and tourism businesses at 86%.

High street retailers were slightly less confident, with 74% expressing optimism.

Paul Newman, a partner in RSM's consumer markets group, said: “Post-election, the mood among consumer businesses is strikingly buoyant. It's apparent that many see the breaking of the political deadlock as a positive, with a clear majority expressing confidence in the government's ability to deliver a trade deal which protects their interests and maintains consumer confidence, key to spending in the sector.

“That said, consumer businesses are also conscious of the potential economic headwinds, and acutely aware of the financial challenges they face in terms of rising staff costs and business rates.

“Other factors, such as the coronavirus which has emerged since our survey was carried out, could also prove challenging, especially for the travel, tourism and hotel sectors. Business leaders will need to be nimble and able to react quickly to sudden changes in consumer sentiment.”

Major risk factors for consumer businesses in the year ahead include economic factors, an increase in the National Minimum Wage and high business rates, the survey said.

Research for the survey was conducted between 10 and 29 January and covered 326 senior decision makers in mid-market businesses with a turnover of between £8m and £500m.