Global Blue, which offers tax-free shopping solutions for international consumers at more than 300,000 retail stores around the world, has entered into a joint venture in Russia. The affiliated merchants, which include department stores, shopping malls and iconic brands, will be able to offer the company’s Globe Shoppers savings of up to 18% on purchases for items that will be exported out of Russia. The retailers are in seven cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi.
Taking advantage of Tax Free Shopping legislation passed by the Russian government, Global Blue will implement a model with three key steps:
• Issuing a Tax Free Form in-store;
• Validating the Tax Free Form and exported goods at Customs; and
• Refunding of the VAT (Value Added Tax) with a dedicated refund network in the country’s main airports.
Initially paper-based, Global Blue plans to move to digital Tax Free Form validation within the next 12 months.
The new legislation allows visitors from outside the Eurasian Economic Union to save up to 18% (the standard VAT rate) when they spend a minimum of 10,000 rubles (approximately $175 U.S.) on products including fashion, technology, watches and jewelry. Shoppers can save 10% on products such as food, medicine and books by reclaiming the VAT on purchases when they leave the country.
The service is expected to attract high-value international shoppers such as Asian tourists, particularly Chinese, and consumers from nearby European countries including Germany, Turkey, Italy and the UK, according to Global Blue. The company’s services include Mobile Customer Care, offering real-time support to Globe Shoppers via their smartphones; partnerships with international payment platforms including UnionPay and Alipay; and services on Visa and Mastercard.
Global Blue has partnered with Russian businessman Ruben Vardanyan and has appointed Russian retail specialist Natalia Yashkina to lead its local team as Country Managing Director.