A week before Christmas there is little sign of a recession in central London’s stores, but the accents of many of the shoppers are not British. Europeans from the mainland are flooding across the Channel to take advantage of the strong euro and weak pound. “Now with the pound going low against the euro, it’s OK, because two or three years ago the pound was very expensive. Now it’s more interesting for us.”British retail sales fell at their fastest annual pace in at least a quarter of a century in early December, as the key Christmas season got off to a dismal start, but now things are picking up. Fiona O’Connor, Finance Manager with the John Lewis department store group said: “Week on week we’re up, but the comparison with last year is slightly down, about four percent, that’s only to be expected though, because last year we had record breaking sales.” And on the other side of the world, the strength of the Japanese yen has similarly boosted sales in the South Korean capital – Seoul. The Japanese currency is up over 90 percent against the won compared to a year ago. The number of Japanese tourists in South Korea is increased by 20 to 30 thirty percent from last year.
Strong euro and yen fuel shopping tourism surge