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Border stores asked to hoard goods as Brexit looms

SHOPS in border areas are being asked to stockpile goods ahead of March’s Brexit date as the prospect of delays at ports grows more likely.

With only 75 days to go until Britain leaves the European Union, Musgrave, the parent company of SuperValu and Centra, has approached some of the county’s store owners about hoarding extra supplies of British-made goods.

Their fears centre on the possibility that food stuffs popular with the Irish market but which are manufactured in Britain could get held up by customs checks at Irish ports.

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Brand names such as Lyon’s Tea and HB Ice Cream, both staples of the Irish household for decades, are now made in England despite having their roots in Dublin.

Edward Coyle runs a Centra store in Raphoe. He is one of the retailers who has been asked by Musgrave to start stockpiling items which, if necessary, can then be distributed to other branches across Ireland.

“Anything that comes in from England, that is what we are talking about here because a lot of the traditional Irish names are now manufactured across the water,” Mr Coyle said.

“Because some of us have more storage space than others, they a asking if we could take in maybe an extra week’s supply of certain items.

“In retail we tend to keep a fairly low stock. What that means is that if there is a storm and the ferries don’t sail, we are out of stock the following day.

“What they are doing now is preparing so that if lorries can’t get in because of customs checks then we will still have stock to sell.”

Mr Coyle added that no shopkeeper wanted their customer to be afraid that their local store will run out of goods after Brexit.

For that reason all the big name retail chains including Spar, Dunnes and Tesco are making preparations for Britain’s departure from the EU.

Stockpiling is just one of the measures being taken by Musgrave to cushion the blow of a messy Brexit.

Company chief executive, Chris Martin, has confirmed that the Cork-based group has begun looking outside of the UK for suppliers in a bid to head off any tariffs that may arise in the near future.

“The reality of it is the UK being outside of Europe will mean that there are tariffs,” Mr Martin said.

“It will mean that a product that is imported into Ireland from the UK will have a range of tariffs, ranging from zero to whatever.

“Our philosophy is very much to make sure that we have the product, that we absolutely protect the consumer from that level of inflation.

“The reality of it is that we’re working through how to ensure that prices are properly managed. And that has meant some decisions around where we source our product from.

“So rather than taking it from the UK, we are maybe taking it from Europe.”

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