U-turn hope on tax-free shopping boosts retailers

The Times

Investors went on a shopping spree for leading retail stocks amid growing hopes that the government may reverse its decision to axe tax-free shopping.

Shares of JD Sports Fashion, Burberry Group and Watches of Switzerland all ticked along nicely as fresh pressure was brought to bear by the retail and hospitality sectors to restore the scheme, under which visitors from non-European Union countries were able to recover the VAT on purchases.

Jonathan Akeroyd, the boss of Burberry, warned last week that the lack of tax-free shopping for overseas tourists was making Britain less competitive. He said visitors had been returning to Paris, Milan and Barcelona in greater numbers than London, putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage.

Burberry, famous for its luxury trenchcoats and