UK Shoppers Look for More Bargains While Employers Seek Workers Since Brexit Takes Effect

European Union Links to Trade May be Important Battleground

Surveys are indicating that bargain hunters in the form of British shoppers are patronising sales in the hope of beating the difficulties which have arisen as inflation continues to go up.  So, too, are those trying to hire migrant labourers finding those available in scarce numbers.  These two findings were reported recently and blamed on the 2016 “Brexit” result.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), sales in the retail sector in April 2017 totalled the best year by year escalation for six consecutive years, although the rise likely reflected the March 2016 occurrence of the Easter holiday, the BRC speculated.

Because of the devaluing of the pound, the BRC said that rising prices for sales in retail shops, amounting to a 6.3 percent increase, were also a reason for the greater value of sales.

“Looking to the longer-term signs of a slowdown,” posited Chief Executive Helen Dickinson of the BRC, “the outlook isn’t as rosy.”

Being more selective when it came to non-food spending was evident in customer behaviour as shoppers became increasingly focussed on saving money as they bought less expensive, store label brands from supermarkets.

The BRC, which excluded new store openings, reported that purchases rose in April 2017 by 5.6 percent when compared with April of last year.

At first, Britain’s economy reacted slowly regardless of the surprise of voters deciding to leave the European Union (EU).  Having said that, there is a fast rise in inflation and that, with simultaneous decreases in wages, makes experts wonder for just how long shoppers can move continued growth ahead.

The first quarter of 2017’s economy saw only one-half of the growth in evidence during the last three months of 2016.  Although this is an uncomfortable turn of events, Prime Minister Theresa May will still likely win in the June 8, 2017, national voting contest.

The BRC findings were similar to those of Barclaycard, the credit card company.  They postulated that consumers were spending at an annual rate of 5.5 percent in April.  Two-thirds of those surveyed indicated a focus on the best quality for the money spent.  There was also a reported 16.6 percent rise in buying at cut-rate venues.

Barclaycard attributed an increase of 11.4 percent of expenditures for essential things at least in part because of the date of Easter and fuel expense, which rose by 14.7 percent.  This is the biggest increase seen since the card company tracked such data beginning in 2012.

In a separate statement recently, employers saw the greatest tumble in the number of potential employees to fill their job vacancies in 16 months, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Job recruiters saw fewer European Union (EU) nationals who could be employed in food manufacturing and healthcare industries, the REC indicated.

“The weakening pound and lack of clarity about future immigration rules is putting off some EU nationals from taking up roles in the UK,” REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said.

In February 2017, an official report indicated that what had been a steady increase of EU migrants labouring in Britain slowed down to a crawl at the conclusion of 2016, causing concern amongst professionals believing they would have a hard time filling jobs.

Recruitment for permanent jobs, the REC survey said, also slowed to the worst increase in seven months, with an escalation in starting monies going down to the lowest in four months.  On the other hand, wages and employment for temporary hires increased.

  • Elise Dopson is a freelance writer and blogger. She shares tips on how start, market and run a successful freelance business on her blog. 📧 Contact: elise@newsanyway.com

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