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What does 2019 have in store for the Thames Valley?

KPMG sees cause for optimism despite the uncertainty

What does 2019 have in store for the Thames Valley?

While 2018 was an unpredictable year, many of the challenges that rocked the year, from Brexit to pressures on the high street, look set to intensify, meaning 2019 could be much the same.

However, Andrew Morgan, senior partner from the Thames Valley office of KPMG, believes that, despite the uncertainty over the national agenda, there is plenty of scope for optimism this year.

Mr Morgan said: “In 2018 the Thames Valley continued to attract investment and has a vibrant economy with some of the best commercial ties with the rest of the world.

“In 2019 we hope that the area will have even better transport links with central London, which will feed many of the innovative businesses in the region across sectors such as technology and life sciences.

“Clearly, the fact that a lot of our business activity has an international dimension means there are potential headwinds in 2019 from geopolitical uncertainty.

“But, I would hope that the underlying strength of the Thames Valley economy, and the businesses that operate here, is such that we can look forward to continued investment and job creation over the coming year.”

On a national front, KPMG UK is predicting that 2019 will be a year of winners and losers as business Darwinism plays out.

KPMG UK regional chair for the South Karen Witton said: “Businesses that have contingency plans in place for Brexit will be better set, but those that haven’t may well encounter difficult issues that have not been factored in.

“If we end up with a no-deal scenario, the cost of warehousing, for example, will sky rocket.

“Challenges on the high street will continue.

“Brexit uncertainty will of course play into consumer spending and retailers’ margins will continue to be tough.

“Those companies that have been relentlessly focusing on cost margins will be best positioned, particularly those that understand what today’s customer wants.”

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