The retail sector includes many different types of businesses. As well as shops, it covers supermarkets, retail parks, online stores, kiosks, stalls and various other outlets. According to figures from the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership, there are more than 35,000 people working in retail in Dorset. Although some retailers may not be directly affected by a no-deal Brexit, it could have some implications for those who import, export and sell abroad.

In addition, some retailers may have people from the EU working for them or sell products which come from the EU via suppliers. This advice may be of use if you own, run or work in a retail business.

You need to know:

If you have people from the EU working for you – such as shop staff or managers – they will be able to stay after a no-deal Brexit.

However, they will need to apply the Government’s Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK. They must apply by December 31, 2020 if we leave without a deal. You can still employ people newly arrived from the EU although new immigration rules are set to apply from January 2021. There is the opportunity for them to apply to stay on a temporary basis for three years under the European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) scheme. People from the Irish Republic are able to live and work in the UK as usual under an agreement between the two countries.

If you import goods directly from the EU to sell in the UK you will need to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

You will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, which is a unique customs ID for your business. You can also register for the Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) scheme which will make it easier to import goods. Other measures suggested by the Government include setting up a ‘duty deferment account’. This will allow you to pay customs duties, import VAT and excise duties by direct debit rather than as soon as goods pass through customs. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has compiled a handy checklist. It includes measures such as contacting any EU suppliers about EORI numbers and making sure you have enough knowledgeable or qualified people to deal with customs declarations. Other measures include preparing to make import declarations on excisable products entering the UK, such as alcohol and tobacco. The BRC suggests that you may wish to pay an agent to handle customs declarations. You may also wish to appoint a representative in the EU although this depends on your requirements and business.

If there is a no-deal Brexit the UK will introduce a temporary tariff system for 12 months which may affect your import of some goods.

Most imports – about 88 per cent of goods – would be tariff-free. This means the Government would not impose any tax on them coming into the country. The Government has recently released a new list of temporary tariffs applying to UK imports if the UK leaves with no deal. This included adjustments to tariffs on some clothing, bioethanol products and lorries. If you think this will affect you contact the Department for International Trade.

If selling into the EU you will need to be aware of changes too.

This includes the labelling of products and checking for product standards. UK businesses who export to the EU will face tariffs on certain goods in a no deal Brexit. Goods will need to be labelled, carry the correct compliance mark. A new UK product marking system is being introduced for certain goods being sold in the UK if there’s a no-deal Brexit. The UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark is aimed to replace the CE Mark in the long term. Generally speaking, most goods exported to the EU will still need a CE mark or recognition from an EU conformity assessment body. Speak to your suppliers – whether in the UK or EU – about plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Consider haulage firms and commercial drivers too, especially if they are travelling to and from or through the EU.

Immediate actions:

NOW: Check your supply chains, and whether they are no-deal Brexit ready

NEXT: Talk to staff from the EU about their settlement status

NOTE: Regularly monitor Government and trade association websites for latest advice and developments

Check out:

Official Government advice.
Settlement scheme.
Temporary Leave to Remain.
EORI.
UKCA mark.
Department for International Trade.
British Retail Consortium.
British Chambers of Commerce
Dorset Chamber.