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International spend surges 21% in the UK

Total sales generated by international visitors on UK shores have increased 21% so far this year driven by South Asian shoppers.

The overall spend by Thai consumers soared 48% year-on-year with the average amount spent per transaction rising by 19% to £742, matching that of Chinese shoppers.

According to tax free shopping operator Global Blue, the UK is the third most popular tax free shopping destination worldwide this year.

Gordon Clark, UK country manager of Global Blue, said: “Though China still represents a fifth of all tax free spend across the UK, the desire for luxury goods is rippling to other Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is now more important than ever for luxury brands to tailor their service to their ever discerning international customer base from flagships on Oxford Street through to luxury boutiques in Edinburgh.”

Mark Henderson, chairman of the London Luxury Quarter, added that over half of stores in the London Luxury Quarter have mandarin speaking staff and 90% of stores offer the option for private shopping after store opening hours in order to cash in on the tourist spend in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “International shoppers are hugely important and we aim to accommodate their needs in every aspect possible. We have recently created ‘The London Luxury Quarter Experiences’. These experiences offer ultra-high net worth visitors unprecedented access to a range of services from across the art, jewellery and fashion world.”

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