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Weaker pound drives Indian shoppers to London

Indian shoppers were behind those from China and the US in London’s West End, but spent 38% more that they did last year, according to the New West End Company.

world Updated: Oct 13, 2017 17:05 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, central London.
Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, central London. (Reuters file)

A recent fall in the value of the pound has prompted a large number of tourists and shoppers from India and other countries to hit high-end retail stores in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street in London’s West End, new figures show.

Indian shoppers were behind those from China and the US, but spent 38% more that they did last year, according to the New West End Company, which represents 600 retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners across the West End, one of the world’s top shopping and leisure destinations.

The pound has fallen since Britain voted in last year’s referendum to leave the European Union. The slide has made property value in London and across Britain cheaper for international customers, among other cheaper options.

The company said the peak season for Indian visitors to the West End is traditionally in July of each year. Their third place in spending was “driven by a 32% growth in the number of transactions to this consumer group, suggesting that many more Indian tourists were visiting the area, rather than simply spending more while they were here”, the company said.

The average spend for an Indian tourist in July 2017 was £677, it said.

International spend across the West End this July was up almost 20% compared with last year, as shops on Regent Street saw the largest leap in sales, with spend on the street up 36% on July 2016.

Oxford Street was not far behind, with sales to non-EU visitors up 23% on the same month last year, while sales on Bond Street were up 8.4% year-on-year in July, showing the appetite for luxury is not waning.  

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company, said: “The West End prides itself on drawing visitors from all over the world and it’s reassuring to see that trend reflected in the summer sales figures. 

"However, we still find ourselves in the midst of political uncertainty. Although international spend is clearly still on an upwards trajectory, many retailers have concerns about domestic consumer confidence and rising costs as we await firm plans for our exit from the European Union.”