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Problems of a warm September

Lord Wolfson of Next also has this to say.

"It is very hard to determine whether the uncertainty over Brexit is having any effect on consumer spending and we can find no evidence that it is affecting spending on small ticket price items.

"Some suggest that the fact of Brexit, of itself, might undermine consumer confidence.

"Certainly, the first few weeks of the Autumn season have been disappointing. However, we believe that the warm start to September has done much more to hinder sales than the political temperature.

Our experience is that political storms, of themselves, rarely affect sales and consumers only change their behaviour when those events directly impair their income or increase their non-discretionary expenditure.

"Our view is that Brexit will only materially affect consumer spending in the event that it triggers inflationary pressure on prices or logistical problems at our ports."

Wolfson on Brexit

next bag
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Here's more from Lord Wolfson, chief executive of clothing firm Next, on the results.

He reiterated that prices will fall 2% as new tariff rates would reduce its import duty costs by £25m as savings from lower world-wide tariffs would significantly outweigh the additional cost of new tariffs on EU goods.

"We have already agreed prices for 80% of the stock we plan to sell in the first half of next year and can see no evidence of any price increases on like-for-like products. In the event of a no-deal Brexit the UK’s tariffs on clothing will fall under the Government’s new temporary tariff regime announced in March," he said.

He added that "relatively little of our stock" arriving or leaving the UK does so via the Dover Calais route and "as a precaution we have already taken measures to move most of that traffic to alternative ports or airports".

He was a strong advocate of Brexit in the run-up to the referendum.

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