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Mulberry boss calls for Government to reinstate tax-free shopping for tourists

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(Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Wire)
(Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Wire)

The boss of handbag maker Mulberry has called for the Government to reinstate tax-free shopping for international tourists, claiming the policy change last year “knocked” trade in London.

Thierry Andretta, chief executive of Mulberry, told the PA news agency it was “unnecessary and unhelpful” when the Government ended tax-free shopping in January last year.

He said: “It obviously was not wat we wanted or needed for our London stores at the time.

Bond Street and Regent Street are our top performing stores but they were of course knocked, and fortunately have recovered well – London has really shown its resilience.

“Ending tax-free meant that cities in France, Italy and elsewhere were more appealing from a shopping point of view for international tourists.

“My message is therefore that they should bring it back because they will witness more tourists as a direct result if they do.”

The calls came as Mulberry posted a jump in sales for the past year despite the “uncertain” economic backdrop.

Group revenues rose by 32% to £152.4 million for the year to April 2 as the firm benefited from the easing of pandemic restrictions.

It hailed a 36% rise in sales in the UK and a 59% increase in China after the reopening of stores.

Mulberry also revealed that pre-tax profits jumped to £21.3 million for the year, compared with £4.6 million last year.

Mr Andretta added: “Whilst the economic and geopolitical outlook remains uncertain, we are an iconic international brand with a clear strategy for future profitable, cash-generative growth.

“We remain well placed to continue to deliver sustainable returns to the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Shares in the company were 6.8% higher at 315p on Wednesday afternoon.

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