U.K. Cosmetics Seller Lush Plots Growth Abroad After Brexit Vote

  • Company concerned about skills shortage, higher import duties
  • 80 employees have relocated to Germany after being made offer

An employee weighs slices of 'The Comforter' bubble bath roll during manufacture at the Lush Cosmetics Ltd. hand made cosmetics factory in Duesseldorf, Germany, on July 19, 2016.

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

U.K. cosmetics retailer Lush is exploring growth options outside the U.K. after the result of the European Union referendum sent “shockwaves" through its business.

A lack of clarity over the government’s approach to the Brexit negotiations is a key uncertainty for Lush, the closely-held company said in its results statement Monday. Its main risks are higher import duties and an inability to access staff with the necessary skills.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who has indicated she’s willing to sacrifice Britain’s membership of the single market in return for regaining control of immigration, is poised to formally begin the exit process as soon as Tuesday if she clears remaining hurdles in Parliament.

For a QuickTake Q&A on the Brexit negotiations, click here

About 20 percent of Lush’s workers do not have British citizenship and were made to feel “unwelcome and understandably upset” by the Brexit vote, the company said. Lush has moved to reassure staff there will be no redundancies and has offered roles in Germany to those wishing to leave the U.K. More than 80 have taken the company up on the offer.

For Lush, Brexit hasn’t affected U.K. sales in 2016, although the company said it’s bracing for more challenging economic conditions this year. Pretax profit rose 76 percent to 43.2 million pounds ($53 million) in the year ended June 30.

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