Double-Digit Tax Free Shopping Boom For Leeds As Shopping Centre Goes Fully Tax Free
In the week that Trinity Leeds becomes a fully tax free shopping centre, industry statistics released today show that sales from tax free shopping in the city grew by 12.8% in the year to the end of August 2016.
Figures from Premier Tax Free, which manages tourist VAT refunds in 30 countries around the world, showed significant increases in sales from overseas visitors to Leeds, with tourists from countries in the Middle East showing the biggest growth.
Tax free sales in Leeds have boomed from visitors from the United Arab Emirates (up 107.6%), Kuwait (62.3%) and Qatar (58.4%). Other big jumps were noted among tourists from Malaysia (93.7%) and the United States (80.9%).
It is thought that the increase in shoppers – which grew by 2.1% year-on-year – is in part due to the increase in both the number, and capacity, of flights from the Middle East to Manchester, as well as the availability of connections from Leeds Bradford airport to the Middle East.
The double-digit growth has been fuelled by a significant increase in the per visit spend, up 10.5% in the year to the end of August 2016.
David Maddison, General Manager at Trinity Leeds which is now a fully tax free shopping destination, said: “The knock on from Brexit is that the UK is a more attractive shopping destination for overseas visitors who are literally getting more bang for their buck, euro, dinar, dirham and yuan.
“We have been working for a number of months to ensure that we can offer our international visitors a completely tax free shopping experience under one roof.
“Tax free is becoming an increasingly important part of our business and will continue to grow with events such as the Grand Départ and last year’s Rugby World Cup putting the city in the international spotlight.”
The upward trend is backed by VisitLeeds which released figures from STEAM – which measures the economic impact of the tourism industry – showing the city enjoyed 26.21 million tourism visits in 2015, a 5.3% increase from 2013. The visitor economy sector is growing at an impressive rate with day visitors up by 4.7% and overnight stays increasing by 12.5%.
Jennifer Young, Head of Visitor Economy and Inward Investment for VisitLeeds, said: “As the STEAM results illustrated, Leeds is growing as a popular tourist destination. Our recent and planned campaign and sales missions include China and the USA and the development of tax free shopping is a crucial element for both of these markets. It’s great to see Trinity Leeds supporting our visitor offer in Leeds.”
Top Ten Tax Free Sales in Leeds by Country 01/09/2015 - 31/08/2016
NATIONALITIES % TOTAL % L.YEAR % VS LY
China 28.0 % 34.0 % -7.1 %
Kuwait 16.6 % 11.5 % 62.3 %
Qatar 7.0 % 5.0 % 58.4 %
Saudi Arabia 5.3 % 6.0 % 0.3 %
United Arab Emirates 4.9 % 2.6 % 107.6 %
Malaysia 3.6 % 2.1 % 93.7 %
Hong Kong 3.2 % 3.0 % 21.4 %
United States 3.2 % 2.0 % 80.9 %
Thailand 3.1 % 2.9 % 18.7 %
Bahrain 2.0 % 2.0 % 12.4 %
Others 23.2 % 28.9 % -9.5 %
Total 12.8 %
Top Ten Average Tax Free Sale Per Visit in Leeds by Country 01/09/2015 - 31/08/2016
NATIONALITIES ATV LAST YEAR % VS LY
(Av total value)
Qatar £486.57 £307.12 58.4 %
United Arab Emirates £431.62 £280.21 54.0 %
United States £409.16 £218.14 87.6 %
Malaysia £378.31 £188.26 101.0 %
China £283.77 £286.84 -1.1 %
Hong Kong £265.90 £341.68 -22.2 %
Bahrain £237.54 £207.93 14.2 %
Kuwait £237.47 £187.87 26.4 %
Thailand £230.70 £218.63 5.5 %
Saudi Arabia £190.79 £180.48 5.7 %
Others £202.47 £209.95 -3.6 %
Total £258.01 £233.58 10.5 %