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Brexit Britain: UK costume company goes Dutch

Thursday, December 08, 2016 - 01:40

A 122 year-old British party costume business says it will move its headquarters from the UK because of the Brexit vote. Emily Withers reports.

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Whether it's Halloween or a themed-party, the famed British costume suppliers - Smiffy's - have been playing dress up for decades. But as the UK's highest court determines how the government triggers Article 50 ... The process of leaving the European Union following the referendum in June ... The company says they can't afford to wait. And are relocating their headquarters to Holland as well as opening a distribution centre next week in Germany. A family-run business Robert Henry Smith opened shop in 1894 as a wig makers. In the 70s the company expanded in to fancy dress and costume. 40% of its products are now sold within the EU. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF SMIFFYS, ELLIOTT PECKETT, SAYING: "We are not prepared to wait on a wing and prayer for the government to negotiate something." Director of the company Elliott Peckett says they've chosen the Netherlands for the switch because it's a friendly place to do business. But crucially it's within the European Single Market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF SMIFFYS, ELLIOTT PECKETT, SAYING: "If there are no deals agreed prior to pulling out, which it seems impossible to achieve anyway, then we will be faced with exporting 30-40% of our sales to Europe which will carry a tariff that will make us uncompetitive." Smiffy's is also worried about what happens to their dozens of European staff based in the UK - complaining about the lack of government information post Brexit. The fall in the value of sterling has also pushed up the cost of goods - and in the New Year customers will pay more. By moving to Holland though they hope to retain their loyal fanbase but showing they're a truly European company.

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Brexit Britain: UK costume company goes Dutch

Thursday, December 08, 2016 - 01:40