13 September 2018
John Lewis is a stalwart of the British high street, a bastion of British customer service, values, and quality brands. So, seeing that John Lewis is reporting a profit drop of 99% in the first half of 2018 is no doubt concerning for many reading the news today.
It would be easy to ask how other businesses are supposed to thrive in an environment where even the biggest stores on the high street are struggling. Perhaps it is an opportunity for small businesses to use their agility to their advantage?
For me, reading Gordon Brown warning of an impending financial crisis, seeing the John Lewis announcement and hearing it being blamed of Brexit, it is frustrating to say the least.
The business world’s worst enemy is uncertainty. The chairman of the John Lewis Partnership Sir Charlie Mayfield told the Guardian that: ‘sterling is weaker and one of the factors in that is uncertainty.’
We know that there is a level of uncertainty over Brexit and what the economy will look like once we leave. The only thing we can be certain of is our own output and focus on our own businesses. It would be easy to blame Brexit, according to Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab in the aforementioned article. And to some extent, it could become an excuse to blame Brexit for everything that becomes a problem in business.
The uncertainty in the economy could quickly become a huge distraction. When you shift your focus from your own business and success, to ‘what ifs’ and concerns about the future of the economy, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Of course, we had hoped that by now we would have a level of confidence in how we were to proceed leaving the EU, but the fact is that we don’t. With just six months to go until we are scheduled to leave the European Union, the debate has to move away from who wants to remain and who wants to leave and instead focus on how we ensure we stay strong.