Clothes rail retail

A growing number of British brand owners and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are seeking expert support to break into the French retail space, regardless of Brexit, according to new research.

Despite initial concerns within trade and industry that the UK's EU Referendum decision could delay British brands from embarking on export strategies, there has been increasing interest in the French sector throughout 2016, according to export company Sutralis.

The number of UK food and drink exports in the first half of 2016 reached £6.6 billion, up 8.7% on the first half of 2015. Behind Ireland, France is the biggest market for UK food and drink exports and is expected to continue this trend in 2017.

Philippe Demarest, director and founder of Sutralis, said: "Many fabulous opportunities exist within the retail market. The UK is an extremely important market for the French food and drink sector, and we are getting more and more enquiries from British brands keen to explore new market opportunities. Brexit has had no impact on the number of enquiries we've received.”

Overall, the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) investing in trading overseas has increased to almost double in the last 12 months, according to the latest SME Confidence Tracker from Bibby Financial Services (BFS).

Findings reveal that 15% of SMEs invested in export activity in Q3 this year, compared with just 8% in Q3 2015, signalling an increasing appetite amongst smaller businesses to shrug-off Brexit concerns and search for growth beyond their domestic market.

Mr. Demarest added: "There are significant opportunities for innovative, premium, natural, healthy and convenient products that offer a clear, unique selling point for French buyers."