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One in 6 Britons eyes stockpiling food, medicine for Brexit

Jan 15 2019 19:57
Ellen Milligan

One out of every six Britons has begun or is likely to start stockpiling food and medicine as worries grow that the UK will leave the European Union in March without a deal, a survey shows.

Consumers are taking matters into their own hands as they prepare for a parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement, which appears headed for defeat.

While the government puts aside more than 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) of funding for Brexit planning, and supermarkets and businesses stockpile goods, many households fear the effects of a chaotic EU exit.

Four percent of more than 1 100 people surveyed have begun stockpiling and 13% are likely to store goods, according to data from Kantar Public, compiled January 10 through 14 and provided to Bloomberg. The total of 17% is up 2 percentage points from a previous survey in October.

Men are three times more likely to squirrel away provisions than women and more 18- to 24-year-olds have stored food and medicine than any other age group.

Sales of cupboard food have jumped 30% from a year earlier, with jarred vegetables up 16%, according to Kantar, a research firm that’s owned by WPP.

Tesco and Marks & Spencer Group each raised concerns over their ability to stockpile fresh fruit and vegetables in the runup to the March 29 Brexit deadline, so shoppers are laying in alternatives.

Brexit is also making people cautious in other areas. Thirty percent have reduced spending, or are likely to, on leisure activities and eating out, the survey shows.

Ten percent are looking for new employment, as Jaguar Land Rover and Ford Motor Co. have announced they’ll cut thousands of jobs in response to a sales slowdown in Europe that’s been exacerbated in the UK by side effects of Brexit.

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