I have just spent three weeks in France, and I was astounded by how “inexpensive” European luxury brands were than in the United States. Not only were the prices lower, but with the VAT tax refund, it was a major savings, to say the least. The tax refund is currently 12%, and combined with the lower prices, it really added up.
That all came to a standstill when entering the UK, which is no longer part of the European Union. There are no more VAT tax refunds available, and I saw firsthand how the impact of Brexit has been for stores and boutiques in London … quite brutal. I feel for them. I enquired about the tax situation in over twenty stores, and I received a WIDE range of responses.
As I explored the shops, I saw a couple main ways they are dealing with it. The main strategy is via export. If you buy something in London and have it sent back to The States, they take off the VAT tax. The downside is that you likely will have to pay an import tax to receive the goods at home. BUT…many stores I spoke with said they won’t ship to the US. They said it’s much too complicated, and that you had to buy the goods and take them with you. For those of us with limited luggage space, that doesn’t work too well. I sadly had to leave some things behind which I would have otherwise purchased.
Another way some stores are dealing with this new normal is that they are offering free shipping — so you pay the given price on the price tag and their tax, then you don’t have to pay any further taxes. Since you pay the tax at the store, it’s then a seamless transaction. The goods arrive to your home, hassle free. Having no extra payment to receive the goods has a price of happiness in itself.
Personally, no matter what country I’m in, I love to support small businesses and independent boutiques. That’s clear, as it is the heart of TheCuratedShopper.com.
Personally, no matter what country I’m in, I love to support small businesses and independent boutiques. That’s clear, as it is the heart of TheCuratedShopper.com. If I have to pay a bit more in one country than the other, then that’s part of the program. I want to see everyone thrive!
Bottom line is buy what you love. Buy items that will last. Buy the best quality you can afford. Support independent businesses. This will keep cities unique, your style your own, and not create a completely homogenous retail world.