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UK grocer Sainsburys warns of reduced ranges in Northern Ireland without Brexit clarity

06 November 2020

British supermarket Sainsburys says it could have to cut its range of offering in Northern Ireland unless it gets clarity on the province’s trading status after the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

Reuters reports that the United Kingdom is still in talks with the European Union over a free trade deal with the bloc.

The two sides are also still discussing how goods will be treated when they move between Britain and Northern Ireland, and which goods could be "at risk" of moving from Northern Ireland into EU-member Ireland, potentially requiring tariffs.

Sainsbury's CEO Simon Roberts told reporters that getting certainty as soon as possible was now "really critical".

"The impact on Northern Ireland if we don't see that is we will see restrictions in the range of products we can send to Northern Ireland stores," he said.

"There's a wide range of restricted products that until we get clarity would be at risk, that we wouldn't be able to make available, until something changes," he added.

Roberts said wide elements of meat, fish and dairy product ranges could all be impacted in its 13 stores in the province.

He also highlighted the unresolved issue of licensing and import requirements.

"We'd like to see a trusted-trader situation which means we can move products to stores in Northern Ireland without that additional level of requirement," he said.

Roberts said UK supermarket industry representatives had a productive meeting on Brexit with government officials last week.

"It was a positive exchange on the issues: there was a real desire to listen and understand, particularly on the issue of Northern Ireland, what we need to do."

Roberts was speaking after Sainsbury's published first-half results and updated on strategy.

Read more about this story here.


Source: Reuters


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