Westfield shopping centre attracts Middle Eastern spend

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Middle Eastern shoppers have flocked to the Westfield shopping centre in July 2011, according to the site’s operators. 

Retailers have reported an uplift in Middle Eastern customers mainly from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, including members of Gulf Royal families as well as regular Westfield London visitors. 

Myf Ryan, general marketing manager, Westfield UK, said: “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 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, visiting London for three weeks in July from the UAE, 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 is claimed to provide a visually stunning environment that is both spacious and family-friendly. As well as making 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, according to the shopping centre.

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 shows large numbers of Arab visitors are driving sales while some reporting record breaking weeks in terms of turnover and footfall. Aspinal of London said it has seen a strong growth in the past few months. Much of this has been from international tourists and particularly Middle Eastern customers. The brand’s signature luxury handbags appeal to this group of customers and this is expected to continue with the new collection launching this autumn/winter season.

Premium children’s wear clothing is also proving popular with Atelier De Courcelles seeing bulk buying from Arab customers. According to the company, 65% of sales were made by Middle Eastern visitors.