UK cosmetics group Lush relocates staff to Germany post-Brexit

August 31, 2016 1:42 PM EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - UK cosmetics maker and retailer Lush is relocating European staff from Britain to Germany and has expanded production at its German factory in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union, it said on Wednesday.

Lush, which makes cosmetics by hand, said uncertainty caused by the June Brexit vote had led it to accelerate plans to increase production at its factory in Duesseldorf, western Germany, for the European market.

"While this was always the plan - to make product for Europe in Europe (alongside our Croatian factory) - the reality of the Brexit vote has meant we have done it with a bullet," the company said in an emailed statement.

"Many of our staff still have uncertainties about what the Brexit deal will mean for them and continue to wait anxiously for this to be revealed."

Most larger companies are waiting to see how and when Britain will leave the European Union before taking action. British Prime Minister Theresa May called her cabinet together for the first time since the vote on Wednesday.

But Lush said after the vote in June it was fortunate to have its new factory in Germany to fall back on, and would look to continental Europe to protect its production, sales and multinational workforce.

A volatile pound and a plunge in consumer confidence around the vote hurt many retailers.

A survey published by market research firm GfK on Wednesday showed that consumer morale recovered somewhat in August but was still the second-lowest since early 2014.

Lush said nine of its staff had already moved from Britain to Duesseldorf and another nine would move on Thursday, with more staff keen to move to be offered roles this week.

Lush employs about 1,400 staff of 38 nationalities at its founding British factory in Poole on the south coast, which voted 58 percent in favor of leaving the European Union.

During the referendum campaign the pro-Brexit side argued that leaving would allow Britain to control the numbers of EU immigrants, especially those coming from poorer eastern member states.

The Lush factory in Duesseldorf, which has 252 full-time staff, this month started supplying France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands as well as Germany.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Greg Mahlich)



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