Chinese New Year to drive £32m sales rise in in London’s West End

West End retailers are preparing to see a boom in sales this weekend as hundreds of Chinese tourists arrive in the country to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Regent Street

Chinese shoppers are expected to spend £32m in stores in and around Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, representing a 14.3% increase on last year, according to the New West End Company.

West End retailers are hoping to boost their sales with ‘Year of the Dog’ products such as limited-edition watches, accessories and fashion items.

The forecast comes on the back of strong Chinese spending during the New Year, also known as Spring Festival, last year, when sales to Chinese customers in the West End increased by 120% compared with 2016.

There was a further 33% rise in sales to these customers during the Autumn Golden Week, said Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company.

Central London retailers are reaping the benefits of Government changes to the visa application process, which have helped increase the number of UK visas issued to Chinese tourists by 127% between 2012 and 2016.

But with Chinese visitors being among the most valuable nationality for many London brands, spending on average £1,370 per transaction, there is still potential for more gains, said Tyrrell.

“There is still more work to be done to make us globally competitive with Paris, which welcomes five times more Chinese visitors than the UK each year. With China on track to reach 100 million outbound journeys a year by 2020, the Chinese customer remains crucial to the health of London’s tourism and retail sectors as we prepare for Brexit Britain.”

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