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SBRY - J Sainsbury News Story

282.4p 0.4  0.1%

Last Trade - 17/09/21

Sector
Consumer Defensives
Size
Large Cap
Market Cap £6.58bn
Enterprise Value £11.85bn
Revenue £29.05bn
Position in Universe 154th / 1781

UPDATE 1-Full Brexit checks risk becoming 'incendiary' in N.Ireland, M&S says

Wed 21st July, 2021 8:29am
(Adds letter details)
    By Kate Holton
    LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - The introduction of full customs
checks between Britain and Northern Ireland risks becoming
"incendiary" when prices rise and favourite products fail to get
through, one of the country's biggest retailers said. 
    Archie Norman, the chairman of Marks & Spencer  MKS.L , told
BBC Radio that the planned introduction of full post-Brexit
checks in October would be "business destructive" and prevent
the food and clothing retailer from providing its full range.
    Customs officials have so far applied a light-touch approach
to checking goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain under a
protocol system that was designed to keep open the province's
border with EU member Ireland while stopping goods from 
entering the EU's single market unchecked across that frontier.
    Norman said the retailer had already struggled to get goods
into EU members Ireland and France since Britain left the
European Union's single market at the beginning of the year, due
to the huge amount of paperwork that was required.
    He expects his stores in Northern Ireland to suffer a
similar fate if the introduction of full checks goes ahead.    
    "It risks being incendiary for the public in Northern
Ireland because you can't think of a more visible demonstration
of how you're no longer a full part of the United Kingdom than
you can't get your favourite Christmas products, you can't buy
M&S chicken, free range eggs, sandwiches," he said. 
    "It's going to be very very serious for customers." 
    The introduction of the protocol, which was agreed by Prime
Minister Boris Johnson and effectively keeps Northern Ireland in
the EU single market for goods, has forced M&S to employ vets to
tick boxes and fill out forms. Switching supply chains to
increase production in Ireland would increase prices, he said.
    In a letter to Britain's Brexit minister David Frost, Norman
said M&S now completed 40,000 pages of customs documents per
week to get goods into Ireland, and that will increase to
120,000 when the full rules for Northern Ireland start.
    One error on a form can lead to an entire truck of 650 items
being stopped, he said. M&S has cut 20% of its range in Ireland.
    "I really, really worry about the visibility of this because
... everyone in Northern Ireland is going to see, very very
visibly, the impact of Brexit and the protocol because there
will be gaps on the shelves," he said, adding that they had
already delisted some products for Christmas.
    Norman, who followed rivals Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda in
warning about the situation, noted that Northern Ireland
households already had less than half of the UK average of
discretionary income, and that they now faced higher prices.

 (Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
 ((kate.holton@thomsonreuters.com; 0044 207 542 8560; Reuters
Messaging: kate.holton.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
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