British cosmetics firm Lush has threatened to expand overseas instead of in the UK after the Brexit vote sent “shockwaves” through its business.
Dorset-based Lush slammed the Government’s lack of clarity over plans to leave the EU. The fact that the one fifth of its staff that are not British citizens “suddenly felt unwelcome and understandably upset” is of particular concern, Lush said in a statement.
Lush has offered non-UK nationals looking to leave after the referendum result jobs in its Dusseldorf factory – an offer which 80 staff have already taken up.
The manufacturer and retailer famous for products such as its fizzing bath bombs said it had “flourished” in part as a result of the free movement of goods and labour throughout the EU.
It warned that leaving the trading bloc will mean higher import taxes as the negotiation of new trade deals could take years.
Brexit could jeopardise the firm’s UK expansion plans and it will now “be reviewing other options for growth outside of the UK”, the statement said.
“With Britain close to full employment and with a severe skills shortage we are concerned that restrictions on free movement of people will impact the availability of both the skilled and the unskilled restricting future growth in both our UK manufacturing and buying facilities,” the company said.
“With little clarity on the Government’s approach to the implementation of Brexit this remains a key uncertainty for the business going forward.”
Lush, which has 938 stores in 49 countries, saw pre-tax profit for the year to 30 June 2016 rise 76 per cent to £43.2m. Group revenue was up 21 per cent at £394.9m.
The company this week also announced thousands of workers will receive a pay rise as it extends payment of the voluntary Living Wage across all of its stores.
Business picture of the day
London workers have been paid £9.75 an hour since 2011. Lush will now pay permanent staff outside the capital £8.45 an hour, the voluntary rate set for the rest of the UK.
The Living Wage Foundation said 3,555 Lush workers will receive a pay rise, worth over £2,000 a year for full-time staff on a 40-hour week.