More reform predicted for the EU
Philip Marsh, MD of marine clothing and footwear brand Chatham, wanted to stay within the EU.
“From a personal and professional perspective, I didn’t want Britain to leave and so have been very apprehensive about what this will mean for us. I think our exit has started to shake up the EU and long-term, I think there will be reform more generally across other members of the EU.”
As to how Brexit has affected business, Philip says Chatham buys the majority of its materials in dollars and the weakening of sterling has meant that prices should have risen by around 20%. “However,” he says, “the market cannot take this kind of price rise, so smaller price increases and reducing our company’s margin is the way forward.”
But he is positive. He points to Chatham’s Made in Britain collection which ‘continues to be incredibly well received around the world, especially in non-EU countries’.
He predicts this will continue. Come Summer 2019, the company plans to build on the success of this line and so will be introducing a Made in Britain range for women and children.
“With the weakening of the British Pound, I believe we’ll continue to export all around the world, especially with these British collections.”
Understandably Philip found that in the first six months after the Brexit vote the topic came up a lot in conversations – ‘there was a lot of uncertainty around Britain’s future and customers were asking a lot of questions’.
Now it’s seldom discussed.
He adds that customers know Brexit is happening, so it’s a case of waiting to see what will happen.
Long term Philip considers the marine sector like any other sector –it’s hard to judge the future until the outcomes of leaving the EU are known. In his opinion, he thinks trade with the EU will be tariff-free and therefore shouldn’t affect trade amongst the EU. “In addition, we’ll continue to negotiate and export all around the world.”
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