Since the country voted to leave the EU in June 2016, Brexit has continued to have a significant impact on the UK’s economic activity. GDP forecasts are frequently downgraded, while a growing number of firms such as Goldman Sachs and Unilever are considering, or have begun, shifting operations out of the UK, and the nation has lost its appeal among many EU workers.

              Looking ahead, GDP predictions for 2019 vary, with most expecting growth to be modest at around 1.4%, but analysts say this is on the strength of the global economy. The government, which has run a controversial austerity programme since 2010, has pledged to cut corporation tax from 20% to 17% by 2020.

              Brexit continues to dominate the agenda and uncertainty around its impact on the sector lingers in the air as the UK prepares to leave the EU in March 2019.

              The retail outlook

              Consumers are being squeezed by rising inflation – which hit a six-month high of 2.7% in August – while wage growth remains sluggish.

              This has had a knock-on effect on the retail industry, which has suffered a tough year. Despite consumers spending £366bn in shops and online in 2017, a rise of 4.6% on the previous year, the country has witnessed a huge number of casualties on the high street with Maplin, Toys R Us and Poundworld among those falling into administration.

              The UK recorded 5,855 store closures in 2017, according to the Local Data Company.

              Shopping budgets remain tight and, given the headwinds of business rates, changes in consumer spending and the uncertainty around Brexit, high levels of pessimism surround the retail industry.

              Click a flag to find out more about each country


              Download your copy of The Global Consumer 2019 here >


              Hilary Ross

              • Head of Retail, Food & Hospitality // Executive Partner (London)

              Oliver Bolthausen, LL.M. (USA), FCIArb (UK)

              • Partner // Managing Partner (Germany) // Global Head of International Arbitration & Disputes

              Ed Meikle

              • Partner // Head of Retail Group

              We use cookies to give you the best user experience on our website. Please let us know if you accept our use of cookies.

              Manage cookies

              Your Privacy

              When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. We mainly use this information to ensure the site works as you expect it to, and to learn how we can improve the experience in the future. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
              Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change permissions. However, blocking some types of cookies may prevent certain site functionality from working as expected

              Functional cookies


              These cookies let you use the website and are required for the website to function as expected.

              These cookies are required

              Tracking cookies

              Anonymous cookies that help us understand the performance of our website and how we can improve the website experience for our users. Some of these may be set by third parties we trust, such as Google Analytics.

              They may also be used to personalise your experience on our website by remembering your preferences and settings.

              Marketing cookies

              These cookies are used to improve and personalise your experience with our brands. We may use these cookies to show adverts for our products, or measure the performance of our adverts.