A recent Royal Mail business update gives us some very interesting insight into the situation for UK small businesses with Brexit.
In the five months to August 2019, the Royal Mail recorded 111 million international parcels. (In total, the UK Postal Service handled 520 million packages, but 409 million of them were domestic mail.)
Parcel traffic increased last year as e-commerce peaked in foreclosure. But this year, Royal Mail’s international parcel business fell to 70 million in the same five-month period.
It’s probably safe to assume that many of those unsent packages were those sent to Ireland and other parts of the European Union. Some were undoubtedly packages from family and friends – but SMEs rely heavily on Royal Mail.
Rumors of postal disruption among Irish customers have intensified in recent months, with many anecdotes of customers facing customs fees or delays.
One of the main causes is the implementation of new EU rules, which means that many items are now subject to VAT and customs fees (before July 1, goods under 22 € were not affected by VAT).
Some of the EU rules – such as all goods entering the block requiring 10-digit electronic codes – were originally aimed at cheaper items imported from China like. But the rules had a rather unexpected impact, given that Britain is now considered a third country.
And An Post has a real taste for post-Brexit complications.
When asked a number of questions about Royal Mail’s business update and what it means for the post entering Ireland, it becomes clear that An Post is working on the front lines.
“The world has become much more complicated due to new EU customs rules and Brexit. An Post is taking big steps to help customers find a way to overcome these changes, especially with parcels mailed from non-EU countries, including Britain, ”a spokesperson said. .
“We are also in daily contact with Irish Customs and work closely with non-EU postal services, in particular Royal Mail, to help them deal with complex EU customs changes impacting their packages in Ireland .
“We know how frustrating any disruption is for customers, so we are working to help alleviate issues at the source – that is, with those sending goods from non-EU countries and those who carry them – for example, Royal Courrier. “
Over 95% of all packages enter Ireland and go direct for delivery. Almost all major non-EU retailers – including leading UK brands such as M&S, River Island, Boots etc. in the front.
These packages can go directly through customs for delivery without delay.
Of the packages that are not prepaid, a growing number have the required declarations to allow customs to collect any tax due. A post then informs the customer of the charges by email or postcard that the money needs to be paid. Then it is delivered.
A small proportion of items posted from non-EU countries (most notably Great Britain, according to An Post) do not have any of the required electronic customs declarations attached, or an incomplete declaration, and / or they contain documents. goods which are now restricted or prohibited from entering the European Union.
“These cannot be processed by customs and An Post has no choice but to return them to the sender. The customer may have received a notification that an item is in the country, but they would not know that the item arrived without the necessary customs declaration data or that the contents are prohibited, ”the door said. word.
From what An Post finds, it appears that many small retailers (UK specialty stores in particular) are unaware of these requirements and have not put in place the necessary online shopping systems. for sale in Ireland.
It might be hard to believe, but gift packages sent by family and friends in Great Britain (which excludes Northern Ireland) to Irish addresses are also bound by the new customs regulations of the ‘EU.
All of this puts pressure on An Post, which says it is allocating resources to areas that need it most.
“Right now that’s our main focus. We have teams dealing with Customs, Royal Mail and other non-EU postal services on a daily basis, as well as teams dealing with customer inquiries and inquiries, ”the spokesperson said.
While this is a headache for our postal service, it gives a disturbing glimpse into the life of some businesses in Britain.
Ireland has long been a reliable customer for all kinds of businesses there. And SMEs find it very difficult to get their goods here.
A 41 pc drop in parcel packages is not being felt by the retail giants who have streamlined their services and fall into a different package category.
But the little ones – and their customers – feel the pinch.
Spending Oodles at Boodles After Lockdown
The anecdotes that at least some foreclosure savings are spent on jewelry seem to be true for a luxury jeweler. James Amos, head of UK group Boodles, is back at the Grafton Street store he once ran – and says average spending among affluent customers is on the rise.
Looking at the numbers now compared to before the pandemic, he said, “The profits are definitely up. Knowing that the shop has been closed for much longer [in Ireland] than in the UK, units for the year are up about 10pc. Our year starts on March 1 – and sales have increased by around 20%. “
Amos recalled that some couples spent millions of dollars on jewelry during the boom years, but it was running out of steam. However, the past few months have been an eye opener, he said.
About five years ago, most sales would have been in the range of € 5,000 to € 10,000. “This year we’ve seen a lot of individual sales that would have been much higher in value – sort of € 50,000, € 60,000, € 80,000. What we haven’t seen traditionally in Ireland.
“We have a great team here with new manager Sophie Styles,” he said. “And we’re seeing a higher caliber of customers.
Amos came here to present Boodles’ “Around the World in 16 Days” collection, which features some of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. He recently hosted a dinner for 20 special buyers at Patrick Guilbaud and is planning several more high-end gatherings
Abercrombie & Fitch sees sales slowing here
A&F Hollister Ireland, the Irish subsidiary of US fashion and retail giant Abercrombie & Fitch, has announced a significant drop in revenue in its results for its last fiscal year.
The turnover of the company, which operates stores under the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands in Ireland, fell to 3.2 million euros over the period from February 2, 2020 to January 30. He went from over 7.5 million euros in his previous results. for 2019 to 2020.
The directors’ report said A&F had seen and expects to continue to see a “direct and significant negative impact on sales” as a result of Covid-19.
PMD trusts Loretto
Cork-based digital medical technology company PMD Solutions has appointed an industry heavyweight to chair its board as it seeks to bring its respiratory management product to healthcare systems around the world.
Loretto Callaghan, former CEO and National President of Novartis in Ireland, will bring his experience to PMD as it continues to deploy its RespiraSense respiratory rate monitor, which has already been deployed as a primary tool in Irish Covid patient care.