The boss of upmarket department store chain John Lewis has hinted that its prices could rise following last month's Brexit vote as a result of sterling's performance against the dollar.
Andy Street, who is understood to be interested in standing in the West Midlands mayoral election, has warned the plunge in sterling could become a problem for the department store chain.
John Lewis famously opened its first store in Birmingham last year at the city's new Grand Central shopping centre and also has a shop in Solihull and a 'at home' store in Tamworth.
Mr Street said that, although the firm was "fully hedged" against currency fluctuations for 2016/17, next year could be an issue.
The chain buys around two-thirds of its products overseas and around a third of all the products it purchases are in dollars.
"The big issue is the decline in exchange rates. We hedged this year but the issue is next year, it will have an effect. If inflation gets into value chain, it will feed through," he said.
Since the referendum result, sterling has collapsed against both the dollar and the euro and, earlier this week, John Lewis saw sales growth slow in the seven days following the historic vote to leave the European Union.
But Mr Street denied it was anything to do with Brexit, suggesting it was more likely linked to an earlier start to its summer clearance sale and the weather.
Speaking at a media dinner, he said: "The market has been challenging even before Brexit. Since the result, there's been no implication for sales."
However, Mr Street did say that his major concern was the potential reduction in the growth of consumer spending as the economy looks set to fall into recession.
"The obvious thing for us is a reduction in the growth in consumer spending. But has it actually changed behaviour? It's just far too soon to say."
Mr Street called for a swift resolution to Britain's trade relationships with Europe and the rest of the world and clarity on the status of Europeans living and working in Britain.
"At the moment this is a political crisis, it's not an economic crisis. But one could turn into the other if not properly handled. We need to know the solution to terms of trade and want it done as soon as possible," he added.