Prepare for an Invasion of the Tourist Shoppers!

I’m just back from a week in the land of the extremes – Dubai. What a place! Everything you read about it is true. That is, except for the fact that it’s a great place to go shopping.

Ok, I guess it depends what you mean by great shopping. All the well known brands have shops in the Malls (our hotel even had it’s own Tiffany and Cartier shops) – the choice is endless. However, there was one big difference. The products are no longer cheap

The Dirham is linked to the US Dollar so the 25% drop against the pound makes a big difference but even taking that into account the prices still appear high. In the ‘famous’ Dubai Airport Duty Free shop my son pointed out that his PS3 games were £54 against £35-£40 in the UK. My new Blackberry was around £500 to buy when I got it free with a £25 p.m. 18 month contract (£450 inc £1620 worth of calls!). Also bear in mind that if you did buy a few things you would need to declare it at customs and pay an additional 15% VAT.

So what does this tell us? Well, two things strike me. Obviously the drop in the value of the £ has made a significant difference to price comparisons but I also believe that the UK market has become so efficient/competitive that it’s hard to get better value.

So here’s the crux of today’s blog – Prepare for an invasion of the tourist shoppers!

It’s already happening in Northern Ireland where the consumers from the South are taking daily shopping trips to the North where their Euros will buy 20% more than last year.

We can look forward this year to an influx of tourists from Europe, The US and even Japan who will not only be sightseeing but ‘filling their boots’ with cheap UK products. Let’s prepare to meet the challenge.

Do you have any staff with language skills? Are you prepared to take/exchange Euros or Dollars? Do you have UK/European/US size chart comparisions on display? Let’s advertise the fact in the windows that these visitors are most welcome.

 Maybe if you’re lucky enough to be in a tourist area that this might actually be a very good year for sales!

Tony Heywood – Gilcrest Services Ltd
Retail Troubleshooter
Rescue and Recovery Consultant

2 Responses to “Prepare for an Invasion of the Tourist Shoppers!”

  1. Tony Heywood says:

    Here’s the HM Revenue & Customs link for Tax Free Shopping (where overseas customers get the VAT refunded)

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