Arks and Spencer was forced to recall about 600 brands of goods from its stores in the Republic Ireland since Brexitsaid peers.

Sasha Berenji, Irish retailer and Northern Ireland the director also said he was faced with increased costs and spending due to new regulations and administration.

On Wednesday, he testified before a subcommittee of the House of Lords on Ireland / Northern Ireland.

He told colleagues that the impact on their operations in Northern Ireland, where there are a number of grace periods to the rules under the Northern Ireland Protocol, was much less than in the Republic.

There are some major areas we are unable to do. Our custom-made Christmas food, which we were unable to make in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland last year due to the difficulty of delivering the goods

He said: “Prior to Brexit our food supply chain worked in exactly the same way for all our stores in the UK and Ireland as soon as Brexit entered, and in preparation for it, we had to significantly adjust our supply chain.

“Although our business in Ireland is significant, it is not big enough to set up our own supply chain in Ireland, so the vast majority of our goods are still shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

“To facilitate this, we had to create a new export center Motherwell. All our products for export to Northern Ireland and the Republic are now shipped to Motherwell; it used to be in our usual warehouses.

“In Motherwell, these cars are separated and shipped to Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Marks and Spencer operates stores in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (M & S / PA) / BY THE MEDIA

“Everything is much easier in Northern Ireland, but in both countries we had to move from the first day to the second.

“Earlier, the goods arrived at our depot the night before, and the next morning they were sent ready to sail.

“Now this process requires an additional 24 hours at our export center, which means we have killed one night of all the goods we ship, which has clearly affected the shelf life of our customers.”

Mr Berenji added: “We have also seen the impact of accessibility, less in Northern Ireland, but still there. But in our stores in the Republic of Ireland about 600 lines out of about 7,000 that we cannot export, we need to find another solution.

“So the net impact for our customer was that we saw worse affordability in both countries, albeit much worse in the Republic of Ireland, and a higher level of waste for us.

“In addition, the cost of setting up the operation cost us around £ 30 million in additional costs for the island of Ireland.”

He continued: “It takes up to 20 people per hour to ship every vehicle with the correct documentation to Northern Ireland. This number is eight hours for the Republic of Ireland.

“Every item in our shipment to the Republic of Ireland must be certified every day.

“We have considered other options and we have set up and hired a local search team for the island of Ireland and we are now purchasing around 450 products, including short-life products such as sandwiches.”

Baroness Goody asked about the practical impact the changes have had on customers.

Mr Berenji said: “We are in a stable situation in Northern Ireland if overall we can supply most of what we would like for our customers, albeit with an impact on the shelf life.

“There are some key areas that we are unable to do. Our custom-made Christmas food, which last year we were unable to make for either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland due to the difficulty of delivering the goods.

“The risk of turning the car around and not giving people a Christmas dinner was too great.”


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