Banking red tape holding back UK retailers abroad

Almost three quarters (71%) of UK retailers would like their businesses to further expand internationally, however most (57%) believe overseas expansion is fraught with risk, according to new research conducted by buy now, pay later service Laybuy.  

The research, published today (6 June), surveyed over 200 UK retailers and revealed a range of concerns harboured by the sector when faced with the prospect of selling goods in new territories outside their country of origin.

Although Brexit is likely having a huge impact on international growth, the research found other factors are also at play. In fact, almost two thirds of UK retailers (62%) believe that they don’t have the local banking and currency expertise required to expand overseas.

Other complexities holding back international growth were found to include, lengthy international supply chains and more complex financial bureaucracy. Other challenges identified by the research include:

  • Seven in 10 (70%) of retailers believe that international expansion is complicated due to increased bureaucracy;
  • More than three quarters of retailers (80%) don’t have the time and money to manage the difficult process of international expansion;
  • The biggest challenge retailers face is a lack of local market expertise (56%);
  • Almost half (49%) cited cross-border regulatory issues as a challenge
  • The management of currency conversions is a challenge for three in 10 retailers (29%)

Despite the issues voiced by the retail industry however, most retailers (79%) still acknowledge the significant opportunity for growth offered by international expansion.

Gary Rohloff, co-founder and MD of Laybuy, said: “The introduction of legislation designed to crack down on anti-money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit activity, although all extremely important, now means that even a basic task like opening a bank account in another market, for example, can be a very arduous process.

Technology partners are a retailer’s best friend when it comes to global expansion. The right solution can now do much of the legwork. Meaning that challenges like managing currency exchange rates no longer need to be a reason to suppress the global aspirations of UK retail.”

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