Updated: Friday, 22nd May 2020 @ 2:15pm

Year of the big spender: Manchester store tills ring to sound of the Yen as Chinese tourists named top shoppers

Year of the big spender: Manchester store tills ring to sound of the Yen as Chinese tourists named top shoppers

| By Tim Hyde

Chinese tourists spend, on average, a whopping £677 PER TRANSACTION in Manchester stores – a startling figure which is more than any other nationality according to new research.

Research by retail tourism firm Global Blue found that Chinese shoppers account for more than half of the city’s visitor spending as Manchester boasts a large and affluent tourist community.

It revealed that visitors from China spent 29% more on tax-free shopping in Manchester stores during 2013 compared to the previous year.

And Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager at Global Blue, said: “With a leading international airport and home to key cultural attractions, Manchester is one of the top destinations for international visitors coming to the UK, creating a huge opportunity for retailers.”

One of the reasons that Chinese tourists have been able to freely fritter their cash is that many of Manchester shops allow consumers from outside the EU to claim VAT back on their shopping. 

Also the city’s stores accept the China Union Pay card which makes transactions easier and encourages tourists to spend more while shopping.

More than 100 Manchester city centre retailers – including Harvey Nichols and Selfridges offer China Union Pay chip and pin terminals.

Selfridges was the first retailer in the UK to introduce China Union Pay to allow Chinese customers to pay using their most popular credit card.

Stores across the city centre also accept a wide variety of international currencies including the Euro, US Dollars, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, Swiss Francs and Danish Krone.

Jane Sharrocks, Heart of Manchester BID chairman and general manager at Selfridges Exchange Square, said: “International shoppers offer a big opportunity for our retailers and outside of London’s Luxury Quarter, Manchester city centre is home to more luxury brands than anywhere else in the UK.

“In addition to offering keys brands such as Coach, Givenchy, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Proenza, Manchester also boasts the only Chanel and Tiffany boutiques outside of London.

“In addition to our luxury retail offer, the city’s wider cultural offering, excellent transport links, leading world-class higher education institutions and the city’s two football teams will no doubt have contributed to this fantastic growth.

“Our role is to help our retailers maximise international spend through marketing campaigns, training opportunities, events and by accessing the city’s extensive international student community.”

Other countries that have been splashing their cash in Manchester’s tax free shops are Kuwait and Thailand who upped their spending by 70% and 73% in 2013.

Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Nigeria and UAE made up the rest of Global Blue’s top ten shopping nations during 2013.

Picture courtesy of Jeremy Page, with thanks.