Weak pound prompts overseas spending spree in UK

Jake Cordell
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Tourists went on a spending spree after the referendum
Tourists went on a spending spree after the referendum (Source: Getty)

Tourists are hitting the UK's shops like never before as they cash in on a weak pound to snap up British goods at knock-down prices, new payment data has revealed.

Card payment giant WorldPay said today spending from foreign cards at UK stores has jumped by 12.4 per cent since the referendum. The climb mirrors the 14 per cent slide in sterling since 23 June, showing the weak pound is directly driving up sales at British retailers.

The analysis revealed an increase both in the number of shoppers and the average spend per person. The total number of sales rose 3.4 per cent after the referendum, while the average transaction value climbed by 8.8 per cent to just over £50.

The figures come as the CBI revealed manufacturing exports had climbed to their strongest level in two years on the back of the weaker pound, and a day after EY reported City firms were taking a "business as usual" approach to the referendum result. It is the latest in a string of surveys which has revealed the popularity of the UK as a holiday destination has jumped following the referendum.

Separate data also out today showed a 13 per cent jump in sales of Swiss watches in the UK following the vote.

The slide in the pound has caught the attention not only of tourists heading to the UK, WorldPay suggested, as online transactions were also up. Online spending at UK outlets from non-UK cards jumped 5.3 per cent, with the average transaction value climbing 8.6 per cent.

Read more: Should Philip Hammond cut VAT to support the UK economy?

"Recent currency fluctuations have meant that there's never been a better time to 'Buy British' for overseas consumers," said Dave Hobday, UK managing director at WorldPay.

London was one of the regions to see the biggest spike, although it trailed Northern Ireland, where the number of sales to non-UK cardholders climbed by a massive 23.4 per cent after the referendum - "possibly due to visitors from the Republic of Ireland crossing the border to take advantage of the weaker pound," WorldPay suggested.

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