Harrolds founder John Poulakis estimates as much as a fifth of sales from his boutique department store come from tourists, and the numbers are swelling every year.
Fashion-savvy visitors from as far afield as the Middle East are regular visitors to the Harrolds shops in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, along with Asian holidaymakers stocking up on the latest looks from fashion powerhouses such as Givenchy, Kenzo and Valentino.
Harrolds’ loyal, local shoppers still dominate sales, which have grown at a “double-digit rate” for the past five years according to Mr Poulakis, but he said the tourist market had grown considerably in recent years.
“We have a wide array of international people who shop with us,” he said.
“We see a lot more Chinese than we used to five years ago but it doesn’t stop there, we see a lot of New Zealanders too, as well as people from the Arab states.”
The rise of overseas shoppers in Australia’s major capital cities is providing a much-needed boost to retail sales, which Deloitte Access Economics claims are weighed down by stagnant wages growth and high household debt in its latest Retail Forecasts report, Year of the Tourist.
A Partner at Deloitte, David Rumbens, said the number of foreign tourists visiting Australia was at record highs and spending was rapidly increasing as well.
“During the 2015-16 financial year, tourist expenditure totalled around $130 billion, retail spending accounted for around 39.7 per cent of this expenditure, including $36.1 billion on food retailing and $15.6 billion…