Mulberry Calls for Return of Tax-Free Shopping to Tackle Dampened Consumer Sentiment — Update

By Michael Susin

Mulberry Group urged policy makers to reinstate tax-free shopping in the U.K. in order to counter a deteriorating macroeconomic backdrop and the knock-on effect on consumer sentiment, as it reported a widened pretax loss on increased investments.

“I continue to believe that offering VAT-free shopping in the UK would be one of the most effective ways to encourage business growth in this country. The fact this has not been reinstated is creating challenges for all sectors; impacting not only the luxury players, but also hospitality, travel and tourism,” Chief Executive Thierry Andretta said.

The U.K. luxury brand reported a pretax loss for the half year ended Sept. 30 of 12.8 million pounds ($16.2 million), compared with a loss of GBP3.8 million the same period a year ago.

The loss was mainly driven by additional investments and costs to uphold business growth, which included additional operational costs of stores in Sweden and Australia.

Revenue, however, rose to GBP69.7 million from GBP64.9 million.

Write to Michael Susin at michael.susin@wsj.com

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