May 23, 2016
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UK retail giants warn against Brexit

May 23, 2016

Sir Terry Leahy, Justin King, Marc Bolland and Sir Ian Cheshire, the former heads of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and B&Q, have written a letter warning of Brexit.

In the letter, published for "Britain Stronger in Europe", the retail giants warn of price and inflation rises in their supermarkets if Brits vote to leave the EU. They state: "It is impossible for us to see how there could be an exit without an impact on prices and inflation, the strong relationships we’ve built with our EU supplier partners, and the broader innovation and digital agenda."

"The unintended consequences of a Leave vote and the uncertainty it would create would be a massive shock to the system. It would probably mean further depreciation of the pound, driving up the price of imported goods for consumers."

The retailers also warn that an exit would affect supply chain relationships across Europe, and necessitate a "complete renegotiation of our trading arrangements, which can only be of detriment to UK consumers."

In addition, the group says that since Britain's advancement over the next decade is heavily reliant on investment in digital technology, the "EU’s recently agreed Digital Single Market strategy will open up opportunities for business and consumers across Europe, making the single market fit for the digital age."

Sir Terry Leahy, Justin King, Marc Bolland and Sir Ian Cheshire conclude that "While the EU is by no means perfect, exit would hit consumers the hardest." Last week also saw 250 celebrities from the arts world, including Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Helena Bonham Carter, sign a letter urging Britons to vote to remain in the European Union.  The referendum will be held on June 23rd.

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