Jobs at JD Sports distribution centre in Rochdale could be under threat because of Brexit has turned out to be “considerably worse” than feared according to its Chairman Peter Cowgill.
He told BBC Radio Four’s World at One that opening a big warehouse distribution centre in mainland Europe “would make a lot of economic sense,”
While JD Sports’ existing warehouse in Rochdale would not close, “it would mean the transfer of a number of jobs into Europe,” he added.
Mr Cowgill said 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 across Europe.
He said: “I actually think it 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,”
Mr Cowgill had particular criticism for the government’s decision-making on forcing non-essential shops to close, while allowing essential shops to stay open.
In reality, that meant supermarkets could sell clothes, while firms such as JD Sports had to shut. “Some essential retailers have been making hay out of selling clothes, whilst clothing retailers have been closed. It is bizarre,” he said.