JD Sports: Brexit considerably worse than feared

Peter Cowgill

The executive chairman of Bury-based FTSE 100 retailer JD Sports Fashion Plc said on Tuesday that Brexit has turned out to be “considerably worse” than he feared.

Peter Cowgill said the red tape and delays in shipping goods to mainland Europe will mean “double-digit millions” of pounds in extra costs.

Cowgill told the BBC that JD Sports may open an EU-based distribution centre to ease the problems, which would mean creating jobs in mainland Europe and not in the UK.

He estimated such a facility would employ about 1,000 people.

While JD Sports’ warehouse in Rochdale would not close Cowgill said “it would mean the transfer of a number of jobs into Europe.”

Cowgill told the BBC’s World at One radio programme that there is no true free trade with the EU, because goods that JD Sports imports from East Asia incur tariffs when they go to its stores in Europe.

He said: “I actually think it (Brexit) was not properly thought out.

“All the spin that was put on it about being free trade and free movement has not been the reality.

“The new system and red tape just slows down efficiency.

“The freedom of movement and obstacles are quite difficult at the moment.

“I don’t see that regulatory paperwork easing much in the short term.”