Analysis: What could the end of duty-free mean for retail?


Duty-free shopping will come to an end as part of the government’s Brexit plans, which has unwelcome implications for the retail industry.

In September, the Treasury revealed plans to scrap tax-free shopping from December 31, shocking businesses that benefit from tourism sector – both luxury and high street retailers, as well as the wider ecosystem of hotels, restaurants and airports.

The decision means that overseas visitors are no longer able to claim back VAT on purchases made in the UK.

It also affects beauty, fashion and accessories purchases in airports, which will no longer carry a duty-free discount for travellers. 

The change would mean that the UK is the only country in Europe not to offer a tax-free shopping scheme for tourists.

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