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Pound lures Chinese to UK stores

[ 2009-09-02 12:57]     字号 [] [] []  
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Chinese shoppers have been brightening the economic gloom in London where they have been flocking to luxury stores in the West End on spending sprees that have been turning heads in England's capital.

Observers say consumers from China have replaced Russia's super-rich as the city's big spenders and lifted the spirits of top-end stores following nine months of recession.

Data from tax rebate companies suggests Chinese tourists have been spending three to four times more than they were a year ago in London's chic shopping districts.

On Bond Street, which is famous for its designer boutiques and jewelry stores, shoppers spent more than those from the Gulf states, Russia, the United States and oil-rich Nigeria.

"We are looking for good-quality branded stuff," said Lillian Wang, a 28-year-old bank worker from Beijing who was shopping on Oxford Street, one of London's main thoroughfares. "I'm not as crazy as others, buying a dozen Louis Vuittons (bags), but I'm sure they are a lot cheaper here than in Beijing.

"A cheaper pound has also helped."

In addition to top labels, Chinese shoppers are being drawn to everyday items, and they are not as easily seduced by lifestyle offerings as shoppers from many other countries.

For example, top-end retailers have employed Mandarin-speaking sales staff to cope with the influx of Chinese customers, but London's chic hotels have not yet seen more Chinese spending, said Charles Wang of tour operator Travco.

"You still find that the majority of Chinese shoppers stay at standard four-star hotels in London but at the same time easily spend thousands and thousands of pounds on brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani and Burberry," he said.

The trend is even more marked elsewhere.

Global Refund, which arranges sales tax refunds for tourists, reported a 164-percent rise in sales to Chinese customers on Bond Street in the first seven months of 2009, compared to one year ago. Spending by Russians fell 27 percent, although at 1,295 pounds ($2,100), their average spending was still higher than that of typical Chinese shoppers, which stood at 972 pounds.

"In spite of the downturn, the growth in Chinese spending is a trend we expect will continue to the end of 2009," said Global Refund's vice president of UK sales, Nigel Dasler. "Seventy percent of their tourism expenditure is on shopping."

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Pound lures Chinese to UK stores

About the broadcaster:

Pound lures Chinese to UK stores

Chantal Anderson is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site. Originally from Seattle, Washington she has found her way around the world doing photo essays in Greece, Mexico and Thailand. She is currently completing a double degree in Journalism and International Studies from the University of Washington.