The Future of Retail?

Scott Malkin, chairman of Value Retail says that 80% of Chinese visitors to the UK go to his upmarket designer discount shopping centre at Bicester, about 90 minutes’ journey north of London. First you wonder how he knows it’s 80% but as Chinese tourism is still largely in organised tours, it’s a plausible claim. What does it say? We know that brands are big in the Far East – at least as important as in Essex. And presumably the prices are competitive. Perhaps it tells us what the Chinese see as symbolic of the UK: and if Scott is right, it’s the touristic experience of shopping in familiar brand stores.