M&S blows up French bureaucracy: President Archie Norman denounces “bureaucracy fandango” as deliveries are blocked by border controls
The “draconian” customs controls carried out by the French authorities have prompted Marks & Spencer to consider leaving the country entirely, said the president of the retailer.
Archie Norman has criticized a “bureaucratic fandango” at the EU border – and has pointed the finger at French officials for being particularly obstructive.
Customs issues have become so severe that M&S sometimes sees a third of its deliveries in the country – including sandwiches and ready meals – delayed.
Hold ups: M&S chairman Archie Norman (pictured) criticized a ‘bureaucratic fandango’ at the EU border – and singled out French officials for being particularly obstructive
Most sandwiches have a shelf life of only 48 hours, so even short lead times can make them unsaleable.
Norman said this prompted the retailer to reconsider its entire presence in France, where it has 20 stores.
He told LBC radio: “We haven’t made a final decision. But obviously with the difficulties we have regarding trade in France, we need to reshape this business.
“The EU rules governing borders and their customs union are totally outdated and not suitable for the purpose for which they are designed – we have a fandango of bureaucracy.
“We pass around 80% of our product, less than in France because the French, as you might expect, are draconian.
These rules are useless – our food standards are higher than those of the European Union and they have not changed since we joined the EU. ‘
Norman also warned of a “perfect storm” brewing for retailers due to a huge shortage of truck drivers, causing grunts in the supply chain.