“I’m here to shop,” the 38-year-old said on London’s Oxford Street, clutching bags from Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS) and Associated British Foods Plc’s (ABF) Primark containing underwear and trousers for himself, and dresses for his family in Lagos.
Patrick is a regular visitor to London, where retailers are fully accustomed to Nigerian shoppers. The African country was the fourth-biggest contributor to overseas tax-free shopping in the U.K. last year, behind only China, Russia and the Middle East, according to tourism services provider Global Blue U.K. A growing Nigerian population in the U.K. and more-frequent direct flights between the countries has led to an influx of visitors who have more to spend because of a booming oil-driven economy.
“Nigerian travelers are very particular to the U.K.; you’d never see them as a top-10 nationality in other markets,” said Richard Brown, vice-president of Global Blue U.K., which runs a network that enables foreign shoppers to claim back value-added tax. In total, Nigerians “spend more as a total business than Americans do,” he said. Visitors from the U.S. are the sixth- biggest shopping group.
Retailers in London are particularly dependent on overseas shoppers. Foreigners account for a third of spending in the English capital’s shopping district of Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street and will spend more than 2 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) this year, according to the New West End Co., which represents 600 retailers in the area.
Spending by Nigerians in U.K. shops rose 32 percent last year, according to Global Blue, which declined to disclose their expenditure. Visitors from the West African country accounted for 6 percent of the U.K.’s foreign retail spending in March, the researcher said. . .” -Bloomberg News
Photocredit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg