What’s on fashion retail’s Spring Budget shopping list?

Since the Autumn Statement was delivered on the 17 November 2022, the fashion retail industry has been hit by store closures and job losses. The business rates revaluation that comes into effect in April will ease some of the burden, but retailers say there is still more to do. Reinstating VAT refunds for tourists and changes to the apprenticeship levy are also top of the wish list.

In January, H&M announced four store closures in Hartlepool, Maidenhead, Newport on the Isle of Wight and Burton in Staffordshire.

TK Maxx pulled out of its Meadowbank shopping park site in Edinburgh, and New Look announced the closure of its stores in Fort Shopping Park and the Bullring and Grand Central shopping centre, both in Birmingham, alongside branches in Trowbridge, Coventry, east London’s Walthamstow, Northampton and Kirkcaldy in Fife.

At the beginning of February, Drapers revealed that New Look would place up to 500 jobs into consultation at its lead distribution centre in Lymedale, Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, as it shut down all night shifts at the location.

In addition, Scottish value retailer M&Co has confirmed that it will shut all 170 of its stores by Easter with the loss of 1,910 jobs.

The latest figures from the Centre for Retail Research show that a total of 14,874 retail jobs have been cut by UK retailers since the start of 2023.

Mulberry is leaving its New Bond Street store citing the removal of the VAT refund scheme for tourists

And last month, British leather goods brand Mulberry added to the general industry gloom by exiting London’s luxury fashion enclave Bond Street. The business cited a prolonged financial hit from the axing of the 20% VAT Retail Export Scheme for tourists in January 2021.

With all the downsizing and departures across the fashion retail sector,

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