Carl Shaw, Toyella’s owner, claims it is shutting because of increased import costs since the Brexit vote.
Carl blamed the closure on the drop in the value of the pound after Britain voted to leave the EU. The company, which sells goods online, will remain open for the next few weeks until it sells all of its stock.
Carl commented: “We are gutted first and foremost. There’s a range of reasons why we have struggled in the last 18 months. The direct and indirect effects of Brexit are a big factor towards it. Import costs have gone up and we have had to pass those on with our prices. That makes it pretty difficult for customers who are tightening up their purse strings.”
Carl said that the value of the pound dropped overnight after the Brexit vote.
“At one point we were buying stock and getting 1.4 euros to a pound. Six months after it was down to nearly a pound per euro,” he continued. “At its worst that meant prices had effectively gone up 35%. We had to pass the cost on. If Brexit hadn’t had a negative impact on our toy business we would still be trading at our old shop. Nothing I can see is being actively done to steady the ship for businesses right now. We have seen no evidence of the government offering any sort of support to businesses directly affected by a very poor exchange rate and increasing import costs.”
Carl also predicted that other local companies will be forced to shut because of Brexit, particularly small independent retailers, adding that a saturated internet market has also played a role in the closure.
Carl is now focusing on a new home and garden gift company, called Street, based in Lowesmoor Wharf, Worcester.
He commented: “The new business is a direct consequence of the effect Brexit has had on us. We have decided that we can make products here. The product we are designing is 100 per cent made in Britain. Whilst we have been forced to do this we are excited about manufacturing and designing in the UK and exporting back out.”