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Chinese outspent UK shoppers in August


Chinese shoppers visiting the UK in August outspent their UK counterparts, defying predictions as total Chinese shopper spend grew by five per cent, it has been announced.

According to international shopping firm Global Blue, the average monthly UK transaction size from Chinese consumers buying designer and luxury goods over the Olympic period increased from £612 to £642 on the same month last year while all other key international shoppers decreased spend.

Nigerian shopper spend decreased by 32 per cent on August 2011 while tourists from Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Middle East reduced spend by 30 per cent, 23 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Richard Brown, Vice President of Global Blue UK, said of the findings:“2011 saw a huge 64 per cent growth in Chinese spending with key department stores and quintessential British luxury brands, including Mulberry, Barbour, Penhaligon, and Burberry, benefitting significantly from this huge uplift.

“Whilst the UK, and in particular London retailers, have generally reported a lull in spending during the London 2012 Games, Chinese games spectators visiting the capital have provided a much needed boost to retailers at an otherwise difficult time, spending on average £1, 031 per London store visit.”

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics revealed that retail sales volumes in the UK declined 0.2 per cent last month compared to July as the Games failed to provide a much-needed boost to the sector.

However, a report by the New West End Company and Heart of London Business Alliance with the support of real estate firm Jones Lang Lasalle released earlier this week found that spend in the London luxury quarter has reached £3 billion annually, with the number of retail and leisure units in the West End rising 42 per cent since 2005.

Luxury retail then, continues to entice consumers despite the economic squeeze as shoppers seek quality goods from luxury behemoths such as Mulberry and Burberry, which recently opened a flagship store on London’s Regent Street.

Chinese tourists appear to have an unquenchable thirst for quintessentially British brands and Brown added that renowned UK retailers have fared particularly well over the Olympic and Paralympic period.

“This month’s increase shows the huge spending power of Chinese shoppers during a tough global economic climate,” he said.

“Many UK stores have taken steps to capitalise on this spending power by taking measures to attract and facilitate shoppers from China.

“For example Harrods has reported a 40 per cent rise in sales to Chinese tourists since the introduction of UnionPay card readers, Selfridges has introduced Mandarin speaking staff and has provided signage in Chinese for certain fashion offerings, and Westfield has recently started presenting VIP passes offering the Chinese as much as 25 per cent off on the majority of shops and restaurants.”

Published on Friday 21 September by Editorial Assistant

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