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London retailers to cash in on Chinese New Year

Chinese shoppers are expected to spend £11m in London over the coming week, as tourists celebrate Chinese New year.

Department stores and luxury retailers will be the biggest winners, Worldpay predicted. It said Chinese shoppers spend 40% more on credit cards than usual during the holiday.

In addition, Chinese shoppers have been taking advantage of the weak pound. In December, spend from Chinese tourists jumped 24% year on year.

James Frost, chief marketing officer at Worldpay UK, said: “As the Chinese New Year is seen in across the world, it looks as though Britain’s businesses are set for a Golden Week ‘gold rush’.

“With the weakened pound, London is much cheaper this year for Chinese visitors, and we expect popular shopping destinations to reap the benefits from the influx of free-spending tourists.”

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company added: “The West End is setting the scene for a prosperous Chinese New Year, with sales to Chinese shoppers up 121% on 2016 in the week prior to the main event. To put this into perspective, domestic and European spend in the same period were up by just 10.2% and 12.6% respectively.

“Although the holiday was traditionally used for family get-togethers, more and more Chinese citizens are opting to use the break as an opportunity for travel – and with the dates this year allowing for a possible ten-day break, many are choosing the West End as their go-to shopping destination to enjoy the holiday.”

Casadei, a luxury shoe brand on Albemarle Street, Mayfair, said one of its Chinese clients ordered eight pairs of custom shoes and will pick them up while in London for the festivities. 

Mark Henderson, chairman of Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes and London Luxury Quarter said many other luxury retailers will benefit: “We expect Chinese New Year 2017 to convert significant luxury spend largely driven by Chinese shoppers travelling to London to celebrate the national holiday.

”A double digit increase in Chinese shoppers’ tax free spend in London Luxury Quarter on 2016 is likely, due to the weak pound and favourable exchange rates for tourists following Brexit. The weak pound has encouraged international shoppers to purchase more luxury goods in recent months.” 

Gordon Clark, managing director of the UK and Ireland for Global Blue, said retailers were expecting “impressive” trade uplifts over the holiday.

“Chinese New Year remains a key calendar date for the UK retail tourism industry and we expect to see impressive results for 2017, following the steady increase of Chinese tourists visiting the UK since the vote to leave the European Union. Following a challenging start to 2016, Chinese shoppers have grown to dominate the share of UK international tax free spend and have boasted double figure increases on a monthly basis since August 2016, following June’s Brexit vote. This paves the way for what we expect to be one of the most successful Chinese New Year’s in Britain for years.”


Top tips to attract Chinese shoppers:

  • Offer multiple shipping options at reasonable rates
  • Display prices in Chinese Yuan
  • Be upfront about customs charges
  • Offer a high level of customer service

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