UK fashion industry saved by shopping tourists

08 April 2009

We've had years of being scorned as ‘two-bag Brits' by Americans angry at us scuttling away from New York with cut price Marc Jacobs bags because of the weak dollar. So I suppose it's our turn to take it on the chin. But it does hurt when we can't afford to shop (much) and the department stores are packed with tourists flocking to London to splash their cash and pick up some bargains thanks to the deflated pound.

Apparently shopping tourism is now so popular Harvey Nichols is even designing an advert to appeal to foreigners. Chinese visitors are up by 84%, Arabs by 66%, Russians by 54%, Brazilians by 52% and even our immediate European neighbours are cashing in when Chanel bags are over £200 less in London than Paris. Bruno Barba of Selfridges revealed; ‘Euro-rich foreign shoppers have finally woken up to the fact they can basically pay for the price of their Eurostar ticket plus a couple of nights in a smart hotel with the money they'll be saving by buying that Chanel handbag or Louis Vuitton carry-on in London rather than Paris.' Charming. When we can't even afford a café au lait on the Champs-Elysées these days...

But what's even more depressing than watching shopping tourists luxuriate in the London sunshine is the utter stereotypes of which labels each nationality is buying. The Middle Eastern contingent (who, btw, spend the most on average of £1,981) love Zagliani bags. The Russians opt for statement labels such as Rodarte and Balmain with an average spend of £1,512 and the Chinese apparently like ‘brighter colours such as Lanvin shoes and McQueen patent clutches.' At the risk of sounding like the Daily Mail domestic news desk, ‘Go Home!' Please! Leave something for us locals come sale time! [Times, Guardian]


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