Harrods boss Michael Ward has spoken out to say that London is lagging behind Paris and Milan in the luxury trade market

The managing director, who has run Harrods since 2005, said that since the UK exited the European Union customers can no longer claim back VAT on their purchases and this has discouraged shoppers in London.

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Meaning that other European countries where VAT can still be claimed, such as France and Italy, are more attractive to shoppers.

Ward said this means to attract shoppers Harrods needs to work to source designer goods that shoppers cannot find in other European capitals.

He added if he was intending to buy a classic Christian Dior saddlebag for £2,000, then he would probably purchase it in Paris because of the tax benefit of claiming back VAT.

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“We’ve got to make it up by being smarter in what we’re offering to that customer. We want more exclusive products so that they can’t buy the same thing in Paris,” he said.

Ward has urged the government to work on attracting tourists to London in an effort to stop it falling behind other European cities.

Ward added that he will “shut up” if he’s proven wrong about VAT-free shopping.

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“All we want is the government to do what they did with all other aspects of the Budget. Let’s just have an independent review into it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kurt Geiger boss Neil Clifford has criticised the UK for sparring VAT-free shopping for transnational tourists, saying he was “immensely disappointed” with the decision.

Clifford, who has led the brand for 19 years, said post-Brexit Britain should be “open to the world”.

He warned that even the British are visiting European countries to take gain of the tax break.

Source: Retail Gazette

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