London: Burberry Group is in talks with the UK government about new incentives to attract tourists to its home market after VAT-free shopping ended due to Brexit.
The luxury fashion brand, known for its trench coats and leather bags, is lobbying for a replacement system to entice shoppers and create a more “level playing field” with continental Europe, interim Chief Financial Officer Ian Brimicombe said Friday on a call with reporters.
Brimicombe said there was an ongoing dialog between the industry and government, which has faced intense criticism for scrapping the tax break following Britain’s departure from the European Union. Visitors from outside the EU were able to reclaim tax paid on their shopping until January 2021, when the policy expired.
“We’d love to attract more people to London and to Britain generally,” Brimicombe said, adding that he was hopeful of securing “a replacement scheme which would provide tourists with a similar incentive that could take different forms of cash, voucher, credit, whatever it might be.”
Brimicombe said Burberry is “open minded” about the approach.
The UK’s decision to scrap VAT tax breaks for tourists has driven international shoppers to rival cities such as Milan or Paris, according to luxury retailers and brands.
Burberry is seeing a stronger recovery of tourists in continental Europe compared with the UK, said Brimicombe.
“At the moment we’re seeing Brits go to Europe and other nationalities go to continental Europe for their buying as opposed to London. That’s disappointing.”