There may be concerns about UK retail as Brexit talks loom and shoppers are hit by higher inflation, but international tourist spend appears to be going from strength to strength with tax-free shopping up 55% last month.
Tourists are heading back to Europe, and the recovery is showing up in everything from rising hotel bookings to tax-free shopping and air traffic, leading to a brighter earnings outlook for travel and leisure companies.
S. Korea's Lotte Group said Monday four of its stores in China were closed after inspections by authorities. It blamed a political dispute. There are also fears that S. Korean stores will see from lower Chinese tourism.
From luggage-free wardrobe rental services to fashion-themed luxury cruise itineraries, travel and fashion have been aligning in new and unexpected ways in recent years as both industries try to keep up with the times.
At Mulberry, creative head Johnny Coca took inspiration from the aristocracy's life in the countryside, showcasing tweeds, lace and embroidery Sunday, plus equestrian quilted capes and blouses with knotted scarves.
Tourist spend in the UK grew strongly last year and surged in December, with a continuing strong rise expected in 2017, according to Global Blue. Shoppers from Greater China, the US and Middle East were key.
The weakness of the UK’s currency boosted retail sales to tourists in December as they spent £725m, a 22% increase, on a year ago. And a lot of that was spent on fashion and luxury goods, payments firm Worldpay said.
Online shopping continues to gain ground in Europe with two-thirds of internet users e-buying in 2016, according to a survey from Eurostat. And fashion is a key product category, especially for young shoppers.