Here’s How the Brexit Referendum Is Affecting the U.K. Economy So Far

July 11, 2016, 9:20 AM UTC
Photograph by Getty Images

Britain looks set for an economic slowdown and possibly a recession after voters decided to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23.

Official data showing how the decision is affecting the economy will not be published until mid-August but there have already been some early signs of the impact.

Below is a summary of some signals of the Brexit effect on Britain’s economy.


Sports Direct

The retailer said political uncertainty was likely to drag on consumer confidence. The firm looks set to take a hit when making stock purchases because it was not hedged against the sharp fall in the value of sterling against the dollar for this financial year or beyond.

Marks & Spencer

M&S said consumer confidence weakened before the vote. It reported weaker-than-expected sales in the three months to July 2 but said it was too early to quantify the Brexit effect. It kept its guidance for the 2016-17 financial year.

John Lewis

The high-end retailer said sales growth at its department store chain slowed in the week to July 2.


Amazon (AMZN) said it has not seen a sales dip in Britain since the referendum and its plans for the U.K. had not changed. It announced 1,000 new jobs.


Britain’s second-biggest supermarket warned that talk of a recession could prove self-fulfilling.


Major investment banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan said they would work to help London remain a top center for international finance, and a big source of tax revenue for the government.

Banks and other financial firms employ more than 2 million people across Britain.

But JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon said the bank could move thousands of staff out of Britain if the country lost its automatic right to sell financial services to the EU.

Recruiting company SThree said hiring managers, especially in the banking sector, put decisions on hold in the run-up to the EU referendum.



Several major investment firms have temporarily prevented investors taking money out of commercial real estate funds while others have slashed the value of the funds.

The Bank of England said the slump in transactions in the commercial real estate sector could tighten credit conditions for U.K. businesses because many companies use their real estate as collateral for loans.


The homebuilder said the market had steadied after some deal cancellations immediately after the referendum.



The business outlook darkened by the most in four years, according to a survey published on July 11 when there were also fresh signs of a fall in consumer spending and a slowing of economic economic activity in London.

Another survey, published on July 8 showed consumer morale suffered its biggest drop in more than five years after the referendum, echoing other signs of a hit to confidence since the vote.

A separate YouGov/CEBR measure of confidence among businesses also showed a sharp fall.

Car Registrations

New car registrations fell in June for only the second time in more than four years.

Retail Sales

The number of people visiting British shops fell 3.4% in the 10 days following the referendum, according to retail data company Springboard. It said the initial shock of the Brexit vote had put people off shopping.

Accountants BDO said retail sales spiraled lower through June in the run-up to the vote.

Job Market

The online job site CV-Library said average salaries fell by 1.9% in June from the same month a year ago. However, it said advertised jobs jumped by 14.1%.

A survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation showed the number of permanent staff hired via recruitment firms in June fell for the first time since December 2012—around the last time Britain’s economy flirted with recession. The survey was conducted between June 13 and 24.