Britain: the head of Burberry calls for the restoration of duty-free

Gerry Murphy, the chairman of the most famous English luxury House, urged the British Prime Minister to restore the duty-free for tourists, removed at the time of Brexit.


A spectacular own goal” that had turned Britain into “the least attractive” commercial destination “in Europe,” explained Gerry Murphy.


In the land of soccer, has Gerry Murphy, the chairman of Burberry, found the right formula to convince his Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to reinstate the duty-free scheme that tourists love so much?


The head of the honorable house took advantage of the Business Connect conference, which took place yesterday in London in the presence of 200 business leaders, to address Rishi Sunak. He also asked him to put an end to this decision, “somewhat perverse,” “to remove the VAT refund for tourists,” “by, I think it was by you as Chancellor,” and “the day we left the single market.”


Friction effect


Adding that “the exit from the EU” had had “a significant frictional effect on trade, which hopefully will not last forever,” Gerry Murphy urged the Prime Minister to “look at this particular case” of duty-free, the removal of which would hurt both the luxury and travel industries.


Before pointing out this crucial issue for his sector, Gerry Murphy was careful to create an opening, stressing that it was “great to see that the Conservative government is clearly more business-friendly than some of its predecessors”.




Gerry Murphy is not the first business leader to urge the Prime Minister to reinstate duty-free for tourists.  Luxury brands, department stores, and tourism actors (hotels) have been making the same demand for many months. But so far, without success.


But this time, Rishi Sunak has not completely closed the door. He defended the measure, which he said had been justified by “good reasons.” But he also admitted that he would look at the data to “see if things are going the way we planned or not.” “We take this very seriously, we’re here to listen and engage,” he added. And luxury players should continue to be vocal on the subject…


Walpole, the organization representing the luxury goods industry in Great Britain, hoped that by the fall of 2022, the restoration of duty-free would generate at least 1.2 billion pounds sterling ($1.3 billion) in retail sales. The abolition of duty-free in London is encouraging tourists to prefer Paris and Madrid as shopping destinations. Cities that, according to Walpole, also earn £5 million a week from wealthy Britons who are able to buy cheaper on the continent.


Read also > London wants to regain its appeal for tourists

Featured photo : © Presse


Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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