British retail chain Marks & Spencer has announced it will be closing all its stores in the Czech Republic because COVID-19 related measures and now complications from Brexit have made doing business impossible.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 restrictions, M&S had only been selling food at most of its locations and cutting off much of its clothing and other retail goods sections.
On top of being forced to only sell “essential” items, the chain was also having trouble with importing goods from the UK, citing difficulties with Brexit. On Monday, customers noticed that most of the imported foods were replaced with Czech products, and large signs adorned the shelves saying, “We’re sorry that some of your favourite foods are not available. This situation is due to the new UK/EU import legislation. We are working hard to ensure that these missing products come back soon.”
Helena Vyhnánková, the spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer in the Czech Republic, said that trucks had been stopped at the border and inventory never made it into the country.
“Our fresh and chilled foods are made in Britain and then exported throughout Europe every day. Delays have been caused by the new system, and customs inspections have slowed all exports from the UK, but we’re working hard to improve the situation.”
Evidently, there wasn’t much they could do; A day later, they announced that they would be closing everything “as long as the emergency measures were in place and the sale of non-basic items is banned.”
M&S was removed from the FTSE100 in 2019 amid declines in sales.