Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Government is scaring off rich visitors, warns Harrods boss

Harrods managing director Michael Ward has hit out at government policies that he claims are deterring wealthy visitors.

The luxury department store boss believes the onerous Chinese visa application process, stamp duty increase and sanctions on ‘non-doms’, who reside in tax havens, are hitting London trade.

“London is doing OK, but I wouldn’t say it’s doing well. There are certain worrying developments,” Ward told the Mail on Sunday

“It’s a signal. It’s like walking into someone’s house – you get a feeling for whether you are welcome or not. It’s just a little bit of something not very pleasant.”

It follows a speech last week by chancellor George Osborne in which he promised to make the UK China’s “best partner in the West”.

“Whatever George says to the Shanghai stock exchange – it’s total twaddle. We should be more welcoming to different nationalities,” Ward said. 

It echoes calls from experts who in August told Drapers the government must do more to help retailers capitalise on the opportunity Chinese tourists present to the UK.

Ward is also among the UK retail bosses who have pledged to create thousands of jobs if Sunday hours are extended. 

Harrods is relaunching its website in a two-phase programme starting in July next year.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Steady Mr Ward you might land up with the Labour Chap , now that would be a problem for you to worry about.
    You've got the www. business which I hear is doing very well so be patient and all will be revealed.
    Don't you have any U.K customers to increase?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Agreed with anonymous comment above, focus on UK customers for the mean time, the Chinese will always visit London and especially Harrods

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.