The industry – and indeed the whole country – was this morning waking up to the news that Great Britain has voted to exit the European Union after one of the most dramatic nights in political history.
The industry will today be pondering what the landmark result means for its prospects and future going forward.
At the Houlden Group’s summer event evening meal on Wednesday 22 June, those wishing to remain were asked to stand, and those for a Brexit were asked to stay steated – resulting in an approximate 50/50 split.
Retail members of the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) were split last month on how they would vote, while the majority of approved suppliers were planning on voting to stay in.
CMJ members were split almost 50/50 in their opinion: 38% planned to vote to leave the EU, 43% wanted to remain in the EU, and 19% are were undecided. Speaking at the time, chief executive Willie Hamilton said: ““While independent retailers may be more inclined to support the leave campaign, I would encourage all our members and suppliers to have business plans in place in the event of the UK voting to leave. This has been a topic that has been raised at many of our recent Regional Meetings across the UK and we can offer support and guidance for any CMJ members or suppliers who are concerned about how their businesses may be affected.”
Speaking to Professional Jeweller last month, Karen Webb-Meek, owner of In The Pink Jewellery, commented: “The EU is good for the stability of UK business: the pound is already weakened and falling against many other currencies because of nervousness about the result of the referendum. I can potentially see a massive UK currency crash if the referendum is in favour of an exit, causing huge damage.”
The London Stock Market plunged more than 7% in the wake of the referendum result, which saw the ‘leave’ campaign secure 52% of the vote, while the value of the pound fell to its lowest rate since 1985. Oil prices have also fallen sharply in the wake of the decision, early reports said.
Currency traders described initial market reactions to the result as “more extreme” than those seen during the financial crisis in 2008, according to the BBC.
Patrick Fuller, owner of WB The Creative Jewellery Group, comments: “Personally I am disappointed and from a trade point of view I think it is worrying. Trade this year has been positive but fragile and this decision is likely, in my view, to have a negative rather than a positive effect. Having said that it is certainly a poke in the eye for all politicians!”
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