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Fashion receives a boost as tourists "discover" UK high street

High street fashion retailers have received a major sales boost from a 38% rise in international shoppers in visiting the UK in June, according to the latest figures from tax-free shopping operator Global Blue.  

Hobbs, TopShop, Ted Baker, Hackett and Dune are among the brands to have benefitted from an influx of tourists, lured to the UK by the Royal Wedding, who have subsequently “discovered” the high street.

China and the Middle East top the list of high spending tourists, noted for their love luxury brands, but visitors from countries such as Thailand and Russia are increasingly tempted to the UK by the British high street brands.

Nigel Dasler, vice president of UK of Global Blue, said that average monthly international spend has increased by 60% since the Royal wedding and thanks to increased interest in London ahead of the 2012 Olympic games.

He added: “British High Street brands now have an unprecedented opportunity to maximise their marketing to increase their international sales market share. International shoppers are currently attracted by quintessentially British brands, and there is an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on their enthusiasm for British products.”

 Jace Tyrrell, spokesman for the New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers in London’s West End, said it had seen a notable “surge in footfall in the area”. He added: “June saw a continued interest in British brands, particularly from Middle Eastern shoppers who are heading to London’s West End in their droves ahead of Ramadan, this year in August.”

Sophie Flinder, retail marketing liaison, Ted Baker, said spend from Russian visitors had nearly doubled between July 2010 and June 2011 – 21% above the market average.

GlobalBlue forecasts that sales will be up by 25% over the third and fourth quarters, including Christmas, on the same period during 2010. Dasler suggest retailers should integrate quintessential British elements into their merchandise and marketing strategy to attract tourists into stores.

Ellie Fawkes, marketing manager of Hobbs says, “Hobbs has observed an influx of female international shoppers, particularly from Russia. We are embracing this discovery of the UK High Street and of the contemporary British look that Hobbs is renowned for. “

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