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Next CEO says clothing and food prices likely to rise due to Brexit

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By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

June 27, 2016 | 3 min read

Chief executive of Next and prominent Vote Leave supporter Lord Wolfson has said that the UK's vote to leave the EU is likely to see the price of food and clothing increase as soon as next year.

The Tory peer's comments follow the sharp decline of the pound following Friday's referendum result, which could increase overhead costs for retailers who import good in dollars.

Next Lord Wolfson breakfast

Next's Lord Wolfson said the price of clothing and food will rise

Wolfston claimed that businesses will have currency fallbacks in place to offer a short-term safety net against the volatility of the pound, but said this will only delay the impact on high street prices for the time being.

"Most retailers will have covered forward the balance of this year so [the fall in sterling] will not be reflected in prices this year," Wolfson told the Guardian.

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"Next has covered 60 per cent of its requirement of dollars and euros for spring/summer next year and I imagine the rest of the industry will be in a similar position,” he continued. "So the volatility in currency markets will have no effect until the spring, maybe the summer of next year."

Adding to the ongoing debate around Britain's financial stability post-Brexit, Wolfston said it is dependent on whoever leads the next government following David Cameron's resignation.

"If they take an outward-looking, free-trading approach to the rest of the world, that would make a difference to sentiment and investment. The opposite would be to pull up the drawbridge and protect our way to economic prosperity, which I think would be catastrophic," he added.

Chancellor George Osborne has given a speech this morning to try and assuage trader concerns following the UK's decision to leave the EU, saying Britain is ready to face the future “from a position of strength".

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