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Chinese New Year to boost February trading

An influx of tourists coming to the UK during Chinese New Year next week should provide a welcome sales boost in February, according to tax-free spending firm Global Blue.

Global Blue said the holiday, which runs from February 8-14, is expected to be bigger than ever this year, despite the recent slowdown in the Chinese economy. It predicts it will top the 72% year-on-year sales growth experienced in 2015.

Gordon Clark, managing director UK and Ireland at Global Blue, said: “Chinese New Year is still a key period for UK retail. The new two-year visa for Chinese visitors to the UK, which launched in January, offers a boosted incentive for shoppers to visit the UK this Chinese New Year over Paris or Milan.”

However, he warned that brands and retailers need to pull out all the stops to attract Chinese shoppers, particularly given the strength of the pound.

“UK brands must not be complacent, and should focus on strategies and marketing campaigns executed in China that talk about their brand heritage, location of their stores, quality of their ranges and any special services they can offer these customers.

”By doing so they will be able to entice this integral market to the UK to shop and stay, despite the strength of the pound and China’s faltering consumer confidence to travel and spend abroad.”

Vivienne Westwood has launched a special Year of the Monkey necklace to mark the holiday, while design houses Alexander McQueen and Amanda Wakeley have produced limited edition scarves.

Mulberry, Stella McCartney and Jimmy Choo are offering traditional Chinese red envelopes as gifts to shoppers during the period. 

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