Mulberry closes its Bond Street store as the Government ends VAT-free shopping
Premium fashion retailer Mulberry has closed its Bond Street store, citing the axing of VAT-free shopping as a major factor in the decision.
VAT-free shopping for tourists was axed from January 2021, then reintroduced by former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and then once again cut by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
In December 2022, Mulberry CEO Thierry Andretta publicly said that the Government’s move to end tax-free shopping had hammered trading in its high-end stores in the capital, particularly its Bond Street outlet.
Andretta said its Bond Street store, which has sky high rents and business rates, used to see up to 50% of sales from international tax-free shoppers, but this had been decimated to less than 5%.
He commented: “Some wealthy people now prefer to go shopping in Paris or Milan or other capitals – it’s really hitting us. The wealthy are still buying but they’re not choosing to buy in London. (VAT-free shopping) is something we would like the Government to reinstate.”
Mulberry also said high business rates and rents had made the 5,442 sq ft store “commercially unviable”.
“We are pleased to say that there will be no redundancies and all colleagues are being redeployed across our London store network. Customers can continue to shop on our website or visit our other stores, including our flagship store on Regent Street. We hope that we are able to open another Bond Street store in the future.”
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