Walpole member Mulberry launched its Made to Last Manifesto this year. Read the story here.


In January 2020 Walpole launched the British Luxury Sustainability , a commitment to helping the luxury sector become the global leader in sustainability. Eight sector Working Groups regularly collaborate on four key pillars: the transition to a circular economy, safeguarding natural resources and the environment, increasing sustainable practices and advocating for equal and respectful working conditions.

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Value of the Sector
to the UK economy
Walpole’s Economic Impact Report


The British luxury sector grew by 49% from 2013-2017


The British luxury sector is now worth £48 billion


The British luxury sector could be worth £65 billion by 2024
The British luxury sector is an important contributor to the UK economy, driving sustainable employment and significantly contributing to the UK’s international reputation through exports and tourism. Produced by Frontier Economics in 2019, the second edition of Walpole’s Economic Impact Report demonstrated that the British luxury sector grew by 49% over a four year period and - pre-Covid - contributed £48 billion to the economy. The report highlights both the economic value and soft power the sector brings to the UK, as well as the important contribution luxury businesses make to employment, skills and manufacturing across the country.
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Protecting the luxury sector distribution model
The ability for luxury brands to carefully select and manage their network of partners and distributors is central to maintaining the customer experience and preserving the aura of luxury. Walpole and its partners in ECCIA take an active role in ensuring that policy relating to luxury distribution models, in particular selective distribution, is protected both in the UK and the EU.
Selective Distribution news
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Covid Recovery
Pre-pandemic, the UK luxury sector was growing at a rate of nearly 10% each year, double that of GDP. Since March 2020, luxury businesses, their supply chains and the local communities they support have been devastated by the effect of lockdowns and lack of international shoppers to the UK. This, coupled with the business difficulties brought about by the UK leaving the European Union, has deeply impacted the luxury sector’s ability to maintain its phenomenal growth over the last decade. Walpole sets out the levers which the Government needs to use to assist recovery.
Covid Recovery News
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Tourism & International
Visitor Experience
The luxury sector is a key driver of inbound tourism and plays a vital role in the appeal of the UK to international visitors. Walpole’s tourism work includes taking an active role in visa simplification - particularly for Chinese visitors - and latterly the campaign to reverse the Treasury’s decision to abolish tax-free shopping in the UK.
Latest International News
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Tax-Free Shopping
On January 1st 2021, the Treasury withdrew the tax-free shopping scheme in the UK - despite extensive campaigning by Walpole and its partners. The decision was greeted by dismay over its financial implications and the government’s lack of understanding of the importance of international high-net-worth customers (HNW) to the economy. There is now an urgent imperative for the luxury sector to work through the implications of this change for future international customers, who will now lack a significant incentive to travel here to shop when global travel resumes.
Tax Free Shopping News
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Walpole is a founder of the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance (ECCIA), composed of the six national European luxury goods and creative industries organisations: Walpole; Circulo Fortuny (Spain); Comité Colbert (France); Fondazione Altagamma (Italy); Meisterkreis (Germany); and Gustaf III Kommitté (Sweden). Collectively the ECCIA represents the interests of over 600 European high-end, creative and cultural businesses, with its work falling into three main areas of activity: protection of IP and governance of the internet; market access and tourism; and highlighting the role of the cultural and creative industries as a key driver of Europe’s overall economic health, competitiveness, innovation and employment.
ECCIA news
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International Trade
80% of British luxury goods in value terms is destined for export markets including the US, China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East. Walpole has well-established relationships with the Department of International Trade and the GREAT Campaign and works to ensure the best possible environment exists for the luxury sector to continue selling products around the globe and assisting in the growth of new markets for the UK.
International Trade News
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The UK’s exit from the European Union in January 2021 brought a series of luxury sector-specific administrative burdens, additional costs and delays in supply chains and when selling abroad. Walpole advocates on behalf of the sector to ensure the UK government understands luxury’s unique challenges when doing business with Europe, and retains a voice in Brussels through its membership with ECCIA.
Brexit News
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Advocacy News

Corporate Affairs
Corporate Affairs
29th Jul 2021
Flying the Flag for British Luxury
In the first in a regular series of indepth updates from Walpole's Corporate Affairs team, we take a look at the progress made across several key areas for the business and the luxury sector as a whole, including: VAT RES campaign (tax-free shopping); Exhaustion of IP Rights consultation; the CMA review of Vertical Block Exemption Regulation; and an update on our Sustainability work.
British Luxury Sustainability Report
British Luxury Sustainability Report
15th Jun 2021
Communicating your Sustainability Strategy
Sustainability is increasingly a part of conversations with investors, business customers and consumers. A significant opportunity exists for luxury businesses of all sizes to build brand loyalty by engaging consumers with their sustainability stories. In
US trade
US trade
3rd Jun 2021
US trade representative suspends digital service tax retaliatory tariffs for six months
The United States announced that the US trade representative (USTR) has approved 25 per cent tariffs on imports worth more than $2 billion from six countries, including Britain, over their digital services taxes but has immediately suspended them for six months to allow more time for international tax talks to continue. The move comes after an investigation under Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974 concluded that proposed unilateral digital services taxes from the UK and other countries discriminated against American companies.  A US trade office posits that the suspended tariffs, based on 2019 import data, would equal the digital taxes that would be collected from American companies.