Brussels grants luxury goods industry special status

European Commissions hails luxury sector as a driver of 'European industrial renaissance'

The European Commission has given the luxury goods industry special status and declared it a driver of a “European industrial renaissance” as part of its plan to increase jobs and exports in the sector.

EC president José Manuel Barroso said Europe’s luxury sector is a model for other industries in terms of competitiveness, growth and jobs. The EC’s plan for the luxury sector, which employs 1.5 million people, includes ensuring legislation is in place to help the sector including protection of intellectual property rights, tourism and employment.

Michael Ward, the chief executive of Harrods and president of the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance, said: “We welcome the European Commission’s initiative and the endorsement given by the EU 28 heads of state”.

Last year the commission issued an action plan for the fashion and high-end industries and a framework of  objectives to be reached by 2020 to ensure continued growth. Currently Europe's high-end products account for 10 per cent of total EU export.

Michelle Emmerson, chief executive of the UK’s luxury industry group Walpole British Luxury, said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s leading high-end brands and industries.  It is clear that UK consumers increasingly value this sector’s contribution to the economy, and expect the industry to continue to play an important role in the UK and Europe’s economic recovery.”

The UK’s luxury sector is forecast to double in size by 2017 to £12.2bn.