Retailers Invest in Cultural Awareness as Tourist Spending on UK High Street Grows

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chinese-shoppers-british-retail-store_20140120-105614_1.jpgEven though UK-based consumers might be doing more and more of their shopping online, tourists from overseas are contributing to the survival of many shops on the British high street.

According to an article on the website of the Telegraph written by Graham Ruddick, tourists definitely found their way to the British shops in the last month of 2013! Ruddick reveals that the amount of money that was spent in the UK last December grew with a record height. Unsurprisingly, retailers welcomed the tourists with open arms.

:: Ruddick says that Global Blue, a company that monitors tourist shoppings, revealed that the UK saw a rise in international spending of 40% last month.

:: This number was mainly boosted by the Chinese, who increased their spendings by more than 50% when compared with December 2012. According to Ruddick, this means the Chinese were responsible for almost every 1 million GBP per 4 million GBP that was spent in the UK.

:: In addition, he says that the amount of money spent by Russians grew with 30%.

The money brought in by the tourists was very welcome, as the British Retail Consortium and Springboard recently revealed that the overall revenue for UK retail businesses fell by 2.4% in December. Shops on Britain’s high streets even faced more stressful conditions – they saw a decline of 3.7% in December and a 3.8% fall for the last quarter of the previous year, which was the worst drop since August 2012, Ruddick says.

Helen Dickinson is the Director-general of the British Retail Consortium. According to her, the downfall shows that the fast developments in the multichannel area change the way people shop. Moreover, this especially influences people’s behaviour when it comes to holiday shoppings. People now use online retails services, such as click and collect, to save them trips to the high street to collect everything, she says.

However, Ruddick says, retailers do not have to fear that they will have to close their actual shops, as Global Blue stated that the amount of money that is spent tourists from counties such as Thailand and Russia has not only gone up in 2013, but has been on the rise since 2001. This has probably been very beneficial for high-end stores and malls.

:: UK country manager for Global Blue Gordon Clark believes that retailers are now aware of the importance of international clients. In order to squeeze every last penny out of these consumers, businesses now provide retail specific cultural training for their employees and have started to hire multilingual staff.

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