Despite a favourable sales period (+3.5% turnover on average), businesses been left with a lot more unsold articles than previous years, due to disastrous autumn sales. On average, 15 to 20% of the whole autumn-winter collection is still on the rails, and businesses have to make space for spring-summer articles, the Neutral Independents Union (NIU) has said. They are disappointed that the donation of unsold stock has not gone up.
According to a survey by the SNI involving 414 independent clothes and shoe shops, most shops are holding on to their unsold articles for promotions, and just 4% give this stock to good causes. This trend is far from encouraged.
The VAT administration considers this type of donation a sale, and therefore the VAT must be paid on the normal price, even if the shoe and clothes shop doesn’t get any money in return for the items. ‘It is deplorable that this initiative is punished by the inflexibility of the VAT administration”, says the President of the SNI, Christine Mattheeuws. “It is even more financially beneficial for shops to destroy unsold stock, as then there is no VAT to pay”, she adds.
The Union will “discuss the subject with Finance minister Johan Van Overtveldt again”, it said in a press release. The aim is to get exoneration with VAT, like food shops that donate their food to local CPAS’ and other recognised good causes.