Border checks could mean some wholesalers quit the Irish market

Border checks could mean some wholesalers quit the Irish market

Some small specialist wholesalers have said they may leave the Irish market, as increased costs incurred by border check mean it’s no longer ‘worth their while.’

Cotswold Fayre and Suma Wholefoods both have said business in Ireland and NorthernIreland is affected. Once the grace period runs out at the end of March, they expect they’ll pull out of the market here. t

Customs agents are charging per product type sent, so for a wholesaler shipping varied loads of potentially hundreds of different items, this has wiped out all profitability on sales to the Republic of Ireland.

The additional costs means Irish customers are likely tosource directly from mainland Europe wherever possible, drawing the long-term future for British wholesalers supplying the region into doubt.

The Irish Sea border is particularly damaging for medium-sized businesses such as Cotswold Fayre which has regional annual sales of around £1m.

Suma Wholefoods similarly made the decision last week to halt sales to Northern Ireland because of the disruption. The move has quickly impacted convenience stores in the region who often use Suma as a “one stop shop” for organic and natural foods.

“They contacted us last week because we were planning on expanding our offer with them for a bigger refill station but they told us they can’t supply us anymore,” said Lisa Mulkerns, marketing manager at Eurospar Mulkerns in Newry. “This was a project we were thinking of doing after Easter, but now we won’t be able to.”

Suma confirmed that “all NI trade is on hold until we sort out a whole raft of issues post-Brexit” as it had become “virtually impossible” to trade.