Retailers set for Chinese sales explosion

Wealthy Chinese tourists spent close to two thirds more than they did in 2011 compared to 2010. Last year's £165m spend in UK stores is likely to expand even faster following the easing of travel restrictions for many Chinese - including for many middle class Chinese.

Many London top-end stores are hiring Mandarin speakers. Which retailers will gain most from a new Chinese spending wave?

Year of the Dragon

Think the usual swathe of mid-to-upper echelon brand names and stores: Mulberry, Fendi, Burberry, Selfridges, Harrods, Hamleys, Swatch and out-of-town retail parks like Bicester. Some stores like Selfridges have latched onto China's UnionPay card, setting up pay points in stores for Chinese tourists to use these dedicated point-of-sale cards, commonly used on the Chinese mainland.

Luxury brands are likely, then, to mop up much of the China spend. But as Chinese consumers become more confident - especially middle class Chinese consumers with less to splurge compared to their super-wealthy compatriots - expect more ordinary, middle-brow stores to gain.

Not cheap

Like Reiss. The Duchess of Cambridge wasn't afraid to wear Reiss to meet the Obamas, though it might be a while before the Chinese are elbowing each other through Oxford Street's Primark double doors, given the amount of Primark apparel made in the People's Republic already.

Think about the average spend per transaction. The average Chinese shopper, according to a recent survey from Global Blue, spent £729 on each transaction last month. The average Primark transaction is, ahem, rather less.

Global Blue claims that the Chinese, helped by a weakened pound, are now the biggest spending visitors in UK shops in 2011 spending more than the Russians, Japanese and Arabs.
Read Full Story