Tax-free tourist spend in London’s West End during August jumped 44% year on year, as overseas visitors took advantage of favourable exchange rates following the Brexit vote.
Chinese spend in the UK has increased
Total sales in the district were up 1.5% on August 2015, while department store spend was up 5.2% on August 2015.
The luxury Bond Street zone was particularly buoyant: tax-free sales up 48% compared with last year. Total sales increased 35.1%.
Chinese visitor spend was up 65% on August last year to an average of £1,453 per shopper. Sales from the US were up 74% year on year.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company business improvement district, which represents retailers and landlords in the area, said: “The West End has enjoyed a remarkable summer, with the £400m total spend in July giving way to a 44% year-on-year increase in sales across the district in August.
“Tourists are evidently still keen to cash in on the weak pound and thus have helped alleviate, albeit on a temporary basis, some of the shockwaves that hit the economy following the Brexit vote.”
However, he added: “The longer-term horizon once the process of leaving the European Union gets under way looks less bright, as the business rates revaluation in early 2017 will hit West End retailers’ profits by up to 25% in some cases.
”In the new post-Brexit environment, the government should look to support, not undermine, the UK’s economic well-being given the uncertain times ahead.”