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Referendum Viewpoint: David Hutchings, Head of EMEA Investment Strategy, Cushman & Wakefield

“The market has struggled with a severe bout of uncertainty among businessmen, investors and decision-makers as the vote has drawn near and while opinion polls point to an uncertain outcome, any decision will be a welcome step forward so businesses can at least start to plan ahead.

“Everyone is agreed that if we have a vote to leave, short-term pain is the biggest concern as the terms of our exit are still not known and would be part of a further negotiation, the direct implications of which are still unclear. We could face a much more protracted period of uncertainty than many imagine as new treaties are negotiated and companies and investors work out how to react.

“So how will this affect retail? Overall investment will face some volatility short term as the currency reacts and as buyers and sellers adjust their strategy and this will create opportunity for those able to ride out the cycle.

“There will be losses from some occupiers as they adjust their European location strategy but I believe that retail in general will be less impacted due to its more domestic focus. Even those areas of retail with a more international face – those reliant on tourism for example – may benefit short-term if sterling falls, and the UK will remain an important destination for international retailers.

“In the event of a vote to remain, we will all face a very busy end of year as pent up and delayed spending is released as investors and occupiers rush to get their plans back on track.

“Which will it be?”

 

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