Manchester boosted by Chinese shoppers

Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Chinese tourists spend more in Manchester’s stores than any other nationality, accounting for 50 percent of international spend in the city, according to the Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District, which represents over 380 city centre retailers.

The figures compiled by tax-free shopping company Global Blue show that visitors from China spent 29 percent more on tax-free shopping in Manchester stores during 2013 compared to the previous year, with an average transaction spend of 677 pounds, driven by their taste for designer brands and ‘Made in Britain’ items.

Gordon Clark, UK country manager at Global Blue said: “With a leading international airport and home to key cultural attractions, Manchester is one of the top destinations for international visitors coming to the UK, creating a huge opportunity for retailers.

“To maximise the potential of this market, retailers should introduce tax free shopping facilities to encourage higher spend and accommodate these shoppers by introducing multilingual staff and marketing materials, offering China Union Pay acceptance and aiding staff with cultural sales training to cater to specific shopper needs.”

Chinese tourists are the biggest tax-free spenders in Manchester

The North-West city also revealed that visitors from Kuwait and Thailand were also top-spenders, with retail sales increasing by 70 percent and 73 percent respectively in 2013 compared to the previous year. This is significantly higher than the UK’s average growth in spend by visitors from Kuwait, which is up 34 percent, while spend from Thailand tourists increased by 46 percent.

Popular stores for Chinese tourists include luxury department store Selfridges, which reported that half of its tax-free sales at its Exchange Store were generated by Chinese customers, and Harvey Nichols, which revealed that women’s accessories were the most popular type of tax-free purchase. Brands favoured by international shoppers include Givenchy, Kenzo, Balenciaga, Shiseido, Sisley and Kilian.

Jane Sharrocks, Heart of Manchester BID chair and general manager at Selfridges Exchange Square said: “International shoppers offer a big opportunity for our retailers and outside of London’s Luxury Quarter, Manchester city centre is home to more luxury brands than anywhere else in the UK. In addition to offering keys brands such as Coach, Givenchy, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Proenza, Manchester also boasts the only Chanel and Tiffany boutiques outside of London.

“In addition to our luxury retail offer, the city’s wider cultural offering, excellent transport links, leading world-class higher education institutions and the city’s two football teams will no doubt have contributed to this fantastic growth.”

Rounding up Global Blue’s top ten global shopper nations in Manchester during 2013 are: Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and UAE.

Image: Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester

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