Brexit egg webinar image

Are you ready for Brexit? A recent survey for Scala, the logistics consultancy, found that 61% are already stockpiling raw materials and/or finished goods. Others are reviewing their levels and sourcing, with plans to build stocks ahead of the 29 March deadline.

Some are also changing tack precisely because of it. Or at least that my take on Greencore’s retreat from the US. To be fair, it’s secured a decent price for the business, so it wasn’t a question of cutting its losses and, as well as returning money to shareholders, it’s also paid down a lot of debt.

But having seen the US as an opportunity to diversify and grow sales, it’s not gone according to plan, and CEO Patrick Coveney doesn’t need the distraction of spending half his time in the US when the UK business needs such close attention (including stockpiling). And in a “dynamic and changing UK marketplace”, as he put it, there were opportunities to “execute a number of value-creating initiatives”, “extend its leadership position in attractive categories”, and to “drive sustained growth”. Sounds like code for UK-based acquisitions.

In depth: Can the food & drink supply chain cope with rising costs?

Coveney is not the only one buying time, though, with the government now proposing an extended Brexit transition period. It sounds eminently sensible. On the other hand, kicking the can down the road also extends the uncertainty.

It’s against this backdrop that The Grocer has pulled together a panel of experts for our latest free webinar. The aim of ‘Brexit: a Movable Feast’ is not to debate the rights or wrongs of the referendum. It’s to help retailers, wholesalers and suppliers who are trying to make decisions, with panellists selected to answer a broad range of questions on tariffs, labour, regulation, price inflation and negotiation and much, much more.

Among the panellists is Lord Mark Price, the former Waitrose MD and ex-minister of state. With his broad experience of international trade, and his knowledge of retail and supplier relations, I interviewed him this week. Amid the hysteria that Brexit negotiations is generating, what was striking was to find a remainer so balanced in their view and with such a pragmatic approach to apparently calamitous problems.

What can you do to prepare for Brexit? Click here to register for our free webinar