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Chinese are the new super spenders in Britain's luxury shops



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 12:59 AM on 02nd September 2009






article-1210609-0641C66D000005DC-253_233x390.jpg Hey, big spender: Chinese shoppers are flocking to high-end stores in London's West End


The Chinese super-rich are replacing Arabs and Russians as the biggest spenders on designer labels and luxuries among Britain's foreign visitors.

The weakness of the pound in relation to the Chinese yuan, coupled with the availability of high fashion merchandise, is proving a huge draw.

Gloom-defying shoppers from China are flocking to the luxury stores in the West End of London, outspending Arab royalty and replacing super-rich Russian visitors, whose numbers have been dropping.

Some luxury goods stores are even employing staff who can speak Mandarin in order to cash in on the new arrivals.

Data from tax rebate companies, which help foreign shoppers reclaim VAT sales tax, suggests Chinese tourists are spending three to four times more than a year ago in chic shopping districts.

One company, Global Refund, reported a 164 per cent rise in sales to Chinese customers on Bond Street in the first seven months of 2009 from a year ago.

By contrast, spending by Russians fell by 27 per cent, although at £1,295 their average spend was still higher than the Chinese shoppers' typical £972.

Global Refund's Nigel Dasler said: 'In spite of the downturn, the growth in Chinese spending is a trend we expect to continue to the end of 2009. Seventy per cent of their tourism expenditure is on shopping.'

Lillian Wang, 28, a bank worker from Beijing, who was shopping on Oxford Street, said: 'We are looking for good-quality branded stuff.

'I'm not as crazy as others, buying a dozen Louis Vuittons (bags), but they are a lot cheaper here than in Beijing.'

A record one in every 1,700 residents on the Chinese mainland has a personal wealth of at least $1million (£611,000).

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