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Brexit Scaremongers in Retreat as British Manufacturing and Retail Sales Surge

EU loyalists and Brexit doom-mongers have experienced another setback, with Britain’s manufacturers and retailers enjoying a surge in exports and sales.

“Britain’s manufacturers are enjoying buoyant conditions on the back of export markets going from strength to strength,” announced the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) in a press release, following a “major survey” of some 416 manufacturing firms.

“Manufacturers appear to have taken the recent political upheaval in their stride,” noted EEF chief economist Lee Hopley, with the cheaper pound boosting British firms’ competitiveness abroad — as experts predicted.

Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium reports that sales are up by 1.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared with August 2016.

On a total basis, sales rose 2.4 per cent, compared with a decline of 0.3 per cent at the same time last year — “the strongest growth since Easter, above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.9 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively”.

In-store sales did decline slightly — by less than 1.5 per cent on a total basis — but an impressive 11 per cent rise in online sales for non-food products appears far more significant.

British Retail Consortium chief Helen Dickinson OBE tacitly supported the Remain-supporting David Cameron administration’s claims that leaving the EU would see Britain dictated to by Brussels without the proverbial “seat at the table” prior to the referendum.

She had to acknowledge that “August provided a welcome pick-up in retail sales across channels” — but still made sure to mention the “stark challenges” of Brexit.

On the other hand, IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch OBE described the “steady sales performance” for food and grocery shopping as positive, considering “the disappointing weather and the annual summer getaway”.

Denney-Finch added: “Shopper confidence has been building. 23 per cent expect to be financially better off over the next 12 months, compared with 20 per cent in the election month of June, and 17 per cent intend to focus more on quality in their grocery shopping rather than saving money, the highest level since last September.”

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