Arab shopping spree boosts UK shops

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The Independent Online

Well-heeled Middle Eastern shoppers increased their spending by half in the UK last month, making them the most important group for retailers from outside the European Union.

This was largely driven by shopping around the time of the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival in late October and follows a similar boost from Ramadan in August.

People from the Middle East, including Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, spent 50 per cent more in the UK in October than in the same month last year, according to the research firm Global Blue.

Their expenditure in London rose by 27 per cent last month, with luxury and designer brands in the capital's West End being the biggest beneficiaries.

Richard Brown, vice-president of Global Blue UK, said: "These October spend results follow the 60 per cent year-on-year boost of pre-Ramadan sales from Middle Eastern shoppers in July, and highlight these important dates for Middle Eastern travel and spend in the UK."

Across the UK, Middle Eastern shoppers accounted for 26 per cent of non-EU spend in October, making them the biggest spenders from outside Europe.

Mr Brown said: "In a tough domestic retail climate, retailers welcome the spending power of the Middle East, who can spend in excess of £1m on individual items."