Belfast Telegraph

Lush slams lack of Brexit clarity as it ponders growth options outside UK

British cosmetics firm Lush has said it is exploring options for growth outside the UK because of Brexit and the Government's lack of clarity over a viable exit plan.

The Poole-based company said last year's referendum sent "shockwaves" through the business, in particular the 20% of its staff that do not hold British citizenship who "suddenly felt unwelcome and understandably upset".

Lush said that to assuage fears, it offered those wishing to leave the country after the vote new roles in its German factory, with more than 80 staff to date having taken up the offer and moved to Dusseldorf.

In a statement, the group also warned that leaving the European Union will mean higher taxes and jeopardise expansion in Britain.

"To date Lush has flourished from the freedom of movement of people and goods, and now we face uncertainty in both of these areas. The negotiation of new trade agreements could take years, but the risk is that we will be paying more import duties across the business.

"With Britain close to full employment and with a severe skills shortage we are concerned that restrictions on free movement of people will impact the availability of both the skilled and the unskilled restricting future growth in both our UK manufacturing and buying facilities.

"Having opened our new Germany manufacturing facility during the year we will be reviewing other options for growth outside of the UK. With little clarity on the Government's approach to the implementation of Brexit this remains a key uncertainty for the business going forward."

Lush, which has 928 stores globally, saw brand turnover rise 26% to £723.3 million and group turnover rise 21% to £394.9 million in the year ended June 30 2016.

Pre-tax profit rose 76% to £43.2 million.

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