Stamp duty hike was ‘probably inappropriate’ says Harrods boss

The MD of Harrods reckons George Osborne’s stamp duty reforms were “probably inappropriate” and sent a “worrying signal” abroad.

Harrods High Res ImageMichael Ward was drawn onto the topic of SDLT in an interview with the Mail on Sunday this weekend, and provided some interesting insight into the mindset of the famous department store’s clientele (aka some of PCL’s biggest fish).

“The short-term impact is that the market for £2 million plus houses has now dried up” he observed, adding; “People now have choices. If one of those choices leads to a significant level of fees, they will choose to go elsewhere.”

Describing the typical HNW Harrods shopper, he said; “They are never full-time residents, but most of them like to have more permanent residencies rather than just staying in hotels or having serviced apartments”, before concluding; “I think people are seen to be less welcome here.”

He went on to express fears that Britain’s valuable luxury goods industries could be hit by a combo of recent policy changes (including SDLT, tax sanctions on non-doms and a hardcore Chinese visa application process), which may prompt wealthy visitors to spend their money in other global destinations.

Read the interview here

Further Reading: Top Shoppers: The big spenders linking London’s luxury retail and resi markets