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Wed 4 May 2011 11:10 AM

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Middle East shoppers lift London’s West End

Middle East buyers set to keep tills ringing with $346m sales forecast this summer

Middle East shoppers lift London’s West End
Middle Eastern visitors spend around £1,877 each, some fifteen times more than the average UK shopper

London’s luxury retailers are set to see a boost in sales in
the run-up to Ramadan as the weak pound helps lure in Middle East shoppers keen
to cash in on the city’s lower prices.

Middle East buyers are set to splash £210m ($346m) in London’s
West End in 2011, with shoppers from the UAE leading the pack, said a report
from UK’s New
West End Company.

“International shoppers are key to the ongoing West End retail recovery
and success of London’s economy,” said Jace Tyrrell, direct of the NWEC which represents
retailers in Bond Street, Oxford Street, and Regent Street.

“The Middle East, and in particular visitors from the UAE, is one of our
most important inbound shopper markets.”

Middle Eastern
visitors spend around £1,877 each, some fifteen times more than the average UK
shopper, NWEC said, citing data from retail firm Global Blue. Their average
spend has soared 20 percent over the last five years, keeping the tills ringing
for high end retailers.

“Evidence so far
this year suggest Middle East shoppers will continue to make up the biggest
market share of international visitors in spending terms, buying almost
exclusively luxury goods and staying in the best hotels London’s West End has
to offer,” said Nigel Dasler, vice president of sales at Global Blue.

The UAE is London’s
top Middle East market when ranked by shopper spend, followed by Kuwait, Qatar
and Iran, the report said.

Buyers from Nigeria
are the second highest spenders, splashing an average of £1,648 in a spree.
Shoppers from China spend an average of £1,310 each, the report said.

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