After early summer spending in the Capital, many Middle Eastern visitors return to their home countries to begin Ramadan. July has seen a large influx of Middle Eastern shoppers to Westfield London shopping centre, while retailers have reported uplift in Middle Eastern customers mainly from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, including members of Gulf Royal families as regular Westfield London visitors.
Myf Ryan, General Marketing Manager, Westfield UK comments: “Westfield London continues to trade very well with double digit growth figures in both turnover and footfall year on year, with the second week in July being the busiest week of the year so far. Tourist visitor numbers were visibly up and in the lead up to Ramadan We have seen a marked increased in brand-conscious Middle Easterners flocking to our luxury shopping hub, The Village. Since opening, Westfield London has attracted a large number of Middle Eastern visitors but this summer has exceeded visitor number from previous years. The designer labels that we house within The Village are notably popular, particularly quintessential English brands. Westfield London has firmly established itself on the London tourist circuit and the Middle Eastern market is incredibly important to Westfield London.”
The highest footfall has been between 6pm-10pm as Middle Easterners commonly prefer evening shopping and late meals in large family groups, with purchases often made by cash. Noora Al Mehairi, UAE visiting London for three weeks in July said “I first came to Westfield London last year and have been back four times since. It reminds me of the malls in Dubai and it’s nice to be able to shop late in the evening and avoid the crowds of Oxford Street.”
With over 40 luxury brands under one roof, The Village provides a visually stunning environment that is both spacious and family-friendly. As well as making their essential luxury purchases on favoured British brands including Mulberry and Burberry, Westfield London is also seeing significant purchases on high-street fashion brands, with the summer sales being a primary pull. Mohamad Al Gahmdi from Saudi Arabia said “There’s a great selection of stores here and lots of restaurants serving Halal food. Today I’ve shopped at Louis Vuitton, Prada and Topshop and spent £4,500.”
Feedback from retailers show that large numbers of Arab visitors are driving sales while some reporting record breaking weeks in terms of turnover and footfall. Aspinal of London has seen a strong growth in the past few months. Much of this has been from international tourists and particularly Middle Eastern customers. The brands signature luxury handbags appeal to this group of customers and this is sure to continue with the beautiful new collection launching this Autumn/Winter season.
Premium childrenswear clothing is also proving popular with Atelier De Courcelles seeing bulk buying from Arab customers. 65% of sales were made by Middle Eastern visitors.
Westfield London’s restaurants have also reported a considerable Middle Eastern customer base. Popular food outlets amongst the Middle Eastern customers are Crepeaffaire, Comptoir Libanais, Shawa, Tiffinbites and Pho. The Meat & Wine Company/Puza has reported an increase in Arab visitors which they feel is because of their wide halal menu.
Myf Ryan comments: “Tourists visiting the centre are making the most of the shopping services we offer with large requests for handsfree shopping; tax free shopping as well as hotel and international delivery services. Hassle-free shopping is increasingly how customers like to shop and it is important for us to ensure that our visitors to feel at home when they visit Westfield London. We look forward to seeing our customer levels continue after Ramadan.”