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London tops the global shopping charts

London has been named the best city in Europe for international shopping by analysis firm The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The capital beat out stiff competition from heavyweights Paris, Milan and Madrid to take the top spot, according to the survey of more than 33 cities.

The Globe Shopper City Index - Europe, the first of its kind issued by EIU, measured the attractiveness of major European cities and looked at five aspects including shops, affordability, convenience, hotels and transport, and culture and climate.  

International shoppers - tourists whose travel choices are motivated by shopping opportunities - are estimated to be worth £3bn to the UK economy.

London has seen a 30% boom in tax-free shopping this year compared to 2010. According to data from tax-free shopping operator Global Blue, which sponsored the EIU index, the fastest growing group of spenders in London are from China, the Middle East, Russia, Nigeria, the US, Thailand and Brazil.

At 28% of total sales, the Middle East accounts for the highest spend overall in London, compared to China’s 15%. However sales traffic from China rocketed 70% this year, and the average spend rose to £671 from £600 on 2010. Charting at number three, Russia’s spend grew 32% this year and Nigeria 34% while the United States is up 19%.

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