(MENAFN Press) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
From department stores to outlet villages, there are plenty of places for UAE visitors to source bargain treasures to take home from their trip in Britain, said Dubai-based tourism officials.
The 'January Sales' in Britain traditionally used to begin after Christmas, but for many years the sales have sneakily started to happen before 25 December, with many reductions available from the middle of the month.
Though the biggest bargains go fast, the sales tend to last through the month of January and occasionally into February, but the shops are at their busiest immediately after Christmas.
The most famous post-Christmas sale is at Harrods, the iconic Knightsbridge department store where superb reductions make designer-wear slightly more accessible to the masses. Major department stores across Britain hold sales, with many reductions beginning in the week before Christmas. As well as Knightsbridge for high-end wear, the capital's main shopping hubs Oxford and Regent Street thrive during the sales, with shops like Selfridges, House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer offering good reductions, and the flagship Topshop on Oxford Circus a haven for teens and fashionistas.
The north of England is home to some serious style cities. Leeds's Victoria Quarter is a shopping centre housed in a Grade II listed building, with over 70 leading brands including the best of British: Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Reiss and Mulberry. Birmingham's Bullring is architecturally striking “ if you can see past the attractive discounts to appreciate it “ and it's worth taking a look at their version of the annual traditional Christmas tree, a modern silver structure, in St Martin's Square.
Up in Scotland, Glasgow is known as the style capital, with high street stores offering big discounts, designer-wear in the Merchant City and hidden independent boutiques in the West End for something a bit different. Down in Wales, the relatively new St David's Shopping Centre in Cardiff is home to some fantastic brands, with lots of unique one-off boutiques to explore in the nearby historic arcades.
Bicester Village is great for snagging a bargain any time of the year, but savvy shoppers head over the week before Christmas, when the sales have already begun “ not many people know the sales start early, so the outlet is relatively peaceful" so keep the secret safe!
Britain is a major beneficiary of outbound travel from the Gulf region with residents spending 881 million (AED 5.2 billion) in Britain during 2011, which is around 5 per cent of all spending. The UK received 459,000 visits from the GCC region in 2011, a 19.8% increase on 2010.
The UK already welcomed 31 million visitors from across the world who spent 18 billion (AED 106.2 billion) last year, making the industry the third-largest earner of foreign exchange. Tourism, a major part of the UK economy, contributes 115 billion (nearly AED 679 billion) to UK GDP, and provides employment for 2.6 million people “ around 9 per cent on both measures.
VisitBritain also reports that by 2020 there is potential for the annual number of visits to Britain from the UAE to be 40 per cent up on the record year of 2009, which welcomed 344,400 visitors. The latest statistics show that UAE visits are up 9 per cent.