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News - 11 December 2009
Stephen Robertson, BRC

BRC negotiates extra two weeks for VAT update

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is welcoming a Government announcement following the Pre-Budget report that retailers will be given four weeks instead of two to update price labels in stores after the VAT rate change on 1 January.

The BRC has been campaigning for the Government to amend the Price Marking Order provisions to give retailers longer to change shelf and product labels when standard rate VAT returns to 17.5%.

This will be a permanent change that will also apply to any future VAT rate changes.

The law currently gives retailers just two weeks to adjust every price following a change in the VAT rate. The BRC has also been calling for extra flexibility and a tolerant approach to enforcement, pointing out that reversal of last year’s VAT cut will come during the vital post-Christmas sales period when retailers and staff are already under great pressure.

British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson: “This is a victory for BRC campaigning. It’s come late but this change will give retailers more time to achieve this huge, costly exercise without undermining their key mission, especially at sales time – serving customers.

“Repricing thousands of items and updating IT systems is a major undertaking and will have to be done during most retailers’ busiest and most commercially important time of year.

“Retailers will be doing all they can to minimise any customer confusion by relabelling quickly but they now have the option of leaving the job until later in January when shopper numbers are lower and staff are under less pressure.

“I urge the Government to ensure a ‘light touch’ to enforcement after the change so retailers aren’t unfairly penalised while this work is being carried out.”


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