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Insight: Brexit tourists boost high street sales

New figures have shown that spending on foreign cards in the UK grew by 22% year-on-year in December.


Insight: Brexit tourists boost high street sales

New figures have shown that spending on foreign cards in the UK grew by 22% year-on-year in December.

The latest transaction data from payments processor Worldpay reveals that foreign visitors spent over £725 million in UK shops as the weakened pound encouraged bargain hunting ‘Brexit tourists’ to visit the UK over the Christmas period.

High-end boutiques and department stores in London’s West End were among the biggest beneficiaries from tourist spend over the Christmas period with foreign tourists spending an extra 35% in these types of stores.

Meanwhile, retailers in Manchester and Edinburgh saw year-on-year spending by tourists rise by 19% and 24% respectively in the month.

James Frost, UK CMO at Worldpay, said: “Bricks and mortar retailers have not had things all their own way this Christmas, with the latest reports suggesting UK consumers are increasingly doing the bulk of their shopping online. So the influx of free-spending tourists we saw in December will have been a welcome boost for retailers looking to balance the books.”

Worldpay found visitors from Hong Kong were among the biggest spenders. They shelled out an extra 69% in UK stores during December compared to 2015. Spending on Chinese cards was up by 24% while traditionally big-spending visitors from the UAE spent an extra 31%. The amount spent by French and German tourists during the festive period was up by 14%.

Frost added: “UK retail centres, including London’s West End, are a magnet for visitors from all over the world, made all the more attractive by the bargains on offer as a result of the weakened pound. High-street retailers must now seize the moment to consolidate their global standing by investing in technologies to help them deliver the quality, experience, choice and convenience which will keep tourists spending.”


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