Ikea appeals for post-Brexit transition period

Ikea appeals for post-Brexit transition period
File photo: TT
Swedish-founded furniture giant Ikea has joined a growing number of international businesses appealing to the UK government for a post-Brexit 'transition period'.

The firm's UK chief, Gillian Drakeford, has called for “clarity” from the UK government and backed calls for a deal to protect businesses from uncertainty in the event of a 'no deal' scenario. 

Speaking to the Press Association, Gillian Drakeford said: “Theresa May talked about a transition period and this would be beneficial for us to adapt to a new trading reality, to allow us to offer products at the best prices.”

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Ikea is celebrating 30 years this October since its first UK store opened in the northwestern town of Warrington.

But the British vote to leave the EU has already affected the furniture giant, with the weakened pound forcing the chain to raise prices in the UK. 

“It is difficult at the moment. Currency is one of the biggest things that impacts a business like ours,” Drakeford said. “We want to keep the product at a good price for the consumer, because we know that wallets are thinner, but we've had slight price increases in line with inflation.”

The Local has contacted Ikea for further comment.

In February, the UK's Brexit minister David Davis met Sweden's EU affairs and trade minister Ann Linde in Stockholm, where he told Swedish and international media: “We want to have a very broad ranging free trade arrangement so Swedish companies selling to Britain, and British companies selling to Sweden will have the same sorts of freedoms they have today – they won't be identical of course.”

And British Prime Minister Theresa May penned an article for Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in which she outlined the importance of “maximum freedom” in trade between the two countries.

But such reassurances have not done much to quell concern among Swedish businesses that trade with the UK will become harder and more expensive once the UK leaves the bloc. A report commissioned by Sweden's National Board of Trade and published in March predicted a worsening in EU-UK trade, “regardless of which alternative is the result of the exit process”.

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