Will Brexit scupper Waitrose British Corner Shop deal

Published:  6 Jul at 6 PM
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With Brexit’s toxic tentacles invading almost all aspects of expat life in Europe, gourmet Brits hungrily awaiting Waitrose’s’ entry into the online British Corner Shop may well be in for an eventual disappointment.

For UK expat foodies unable to live without such British culinary delights as digestive biscuits, Marmite, Wiltshire bacon, Cheddar cheese and sausage rolls, British Corner Shop’s online store and its Europe-wide deliveries have been a lifeline. The introduction of a deal with upmarket purveyor Waitrose was sure to stimulate jaded palates even more.

Over 2,000 of the superstore’s own-label goodies will be on offer to expats in the 138 countries served by deliveries from the online grocery site, many of which are EU member states. According to Waitrose’s commercial manager Mark Williamson, the site will be packed with Duchy, Organic and other selections from its favourite product lines, including, he said, biscuits, all of which will be available to expats in Germany and the US as well as Brits in other European countries.

Both companies involved agreed it was a great business plan set to increase turnover and satisfy expat customers across the EU as well as the world. Presumably, they assumed Brexit was just a UKIP dream destined to fade into insignificance over the years. Now that the dream has turned into a nightmare, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the store’s Europe-based marketing might end up with far fewer customers than its research indicated.

No-one’s suggesting right now that every expat in the EU will be immediately deported at the exact moment Britain leaves the UK. However, given the present chaos and continuing lack of information as regards rights to remain, it’s a possibility that the numbers of Brits in Europe looking to order up Waitrose’s culinary treats may well shrink by a considerable amount, as may their pension-based purchasing power.

It’s to be hoped the supermarket’s suppliers haven’t signed up to extended contracts and that they’ve carefully studied the small print, Otherwise, Brexit’s probable negative influence on other British businesses might well hit home online as well. It’s fine to say that a weak pound increases exports, but consumers in quantity need to be living overseas in order to purchase them.
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