“Ramadan Rush” brings windfall to London department stores

Middle Eastern shoppers to treble their spend over Eid Al Fitr


9 Jul 2015

Middle Eastern shoppers are set to treble their spending at London’s department stores over the coming weeks as tourists from the region flock to the UK in search of luxury goods.

Worldpay’s data shows the annual ‘Ramadan Rush’ is worth millions to the Capital’s flagship stores with turnover rising by 368% in the month after Eid Al Fitr last year. Middle Eastern visitors spent £251.05 on each visit to the till, nearly eight times the £32.76 European tourists averaged per transaction.

Qataris were by far the biggest spenders, racking up an average of £466.89 on purchases. This was swiftly followed by £275.17 from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), £186.29 from Saudi Arabia and £134.07 from Bahrain. 

Department stores are by far the biggest beneficiaries of the Eid shopping spree, accounting for nearly 59% of all spending by Arab visitors. London remains the number one draw for post-Ramadan shopping, but luxury retail hub Bicester Village has also emerged as a major winner, with sales from Middle Eastern shoppers rising by 276% versus the seasonal average. Retailers in Manchester and Edinburgh also saw transactions from the Middle East rise by 61% and 46% respectively.

Dave Hobday, UK Managing Director, Worldpay, said: “We expect spending by Middle Eastern shoppers to break records this year, with turnover as high as Christmas for some luxury stores. This is about far more than just premium retail however. From bargains at Bicester to boutiques on Bond Street, retailers across the UK are wise to the opportunity that Eid offers. ““More and more retailers are now employing multi-lingual staff, listing tax-free prices in-store and giving shoppers the option to pay by card in their own currency. Businesses of all sizes will need to get these special touches right if they want more Middle Eastern shoppers in the door.”

While some retailers offer tax free shopping to attract lucrative Middle Eastern shoppers, most are still not offering the full range of value added services such as myCurrency, a form of Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) which attracts both higher footfall and higher spend. DCC enhances the shopping experience by allowing international shoppers to pay in their local currency at the point of purchase.

Top tips on maximising the summer shopping spree:

  •     Allow international shoppers to pay in their local currency at the point of sale
  •     Improve foreign language signage
  •     Employ multi-lingual staff and/or training them in the cultural expectations of different nationalities
  •     List tax-free prices in-store
  •     Offer services such as personal shopping, refreshments and free taxis for high spenders


About the data:
Worldpay transactional data from July-August 2014 for shoppers from UAE; Bahrain; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia.

For more information please contact:
Sophie Bent, Golin:  T +44 (0) 207 067 0558
Kate Mills, Worldpay:  T +44 (0) 203 664 6116

About Worldpay
Worldpay is one of the world’s leading independent payment processing companies, with three operating divisions: ecommerce, US and UK.

As the leading payment processor in the UK and Europe, Worldpay helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers by accepting credit and debit card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move.

In 2014 we handled 44% of all card payments made in Britain, and processed over 10.7 billion transactions across the world. Our online payment options cater for over 200 payment types in over 120 currencies.

9 Jul 2015