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Chinese tourists bring cheer to retailers in US

By Li Ang in New York For China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2014-07-05 06:40

Luxury brands plan steps to attract more shoppers for National Day sales

Chinese shoppers are expected to provide the much-needed momentum for retail sales in the US on Friday, even as most Americans celebrate their country's 238th birthday with fireworks, cookouts and parades.

"We have received calls from several Chinese shoppers about July 4 sales," said Jim Anderson, marketing director of the Chicago-based Fashion Outlets. "Many US retailers have already started Independence Day sales, and we expect the deals to continue through the holiday weekend..

A manager at the upscale-luxury South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, who did not want to reveal her name, said that the number of Chinese tourists, especially independent travelers, goes up during the Independence Day period.

The Fourth of July week is considered to be a boom period for retailers in New York. "Short-term four-day travel packages, especially ones with Woodbury Common on the route, have become extremely popular with Chinese tourists," said Jasmine Xu, assistant manager of EWorld Tours, one of the largest Chinese-owned travel agencies in New York.

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, located in Central Valley, New York, about an hour and a half outside of Manhattan, has 220 high-end stores and is owned by Premium Outlets, a subsidiary of Simon Property Group. This year, Woodbury's sales will run until Sunday, and offer an additional 25 percent to 65 percent discount on top of their everyday savings on brands like Armani, Fendi and Burberry.

"On Monday, we had 15 Chinese tour groups at the Woodbury outlets, and on the first day of the sale, there were more than 20 tour groups from China," said Jean Guinup, the regional vice-president for the northeast region at Simon.

"We may see even more than that, and it's the same for all the Simon Premium Outlets on the East Coast and West Coast," Guinup said.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of Chinese people going to Woodbury during Independence Day, based on our experience last year," said Laurie Heller, marketing manager of Coach USA Short Line. "Many of them come especially when there are big sales, like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July."

"I got to know about the huge sale happening there and decided to go and shop for brands like Coach, Tommy Hilfiger and Juicy Couture," said Wang Xinji, a Chinese tourist from Shanghai, who was waiting with her boyfriend at the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan for the shuttle bus to Woodbury Common on the first day of the sale.

"During the national holidays in the US, there will be an increase in the number of Chinese tourists taking our shuttle to Woodbury," a staff member of the Coach USA Short Line said, on condition of anonymity.

The Chinese shoppers' spree not only takes place in suburban outlets, but also in the city, especially downtown New York.

At Saks Fifth Avenue, Rita Bai and Rayna Liu, two young women from Beijing, were carrying five full shopping bags as they came out of the Chanel store. "I bought some cosmetics from Clinique, and a bag from Chanel," said Rita.

"We've been experiencing a huge increase in Chinese customers during the Independence Day sales," said Tara Greco, a Gucci sales associate at Saks.

Heley Bai, a Chinese student who will study at a college in Massachusetts, took her mother to Macy's department store on Herald Square on the second day of her visit to the US on Thursday. "We actually plan to go shopping at Woodbury during the Independence Day because there's a big sale there," Heley said. "As for Macy's, we're just checking it out."

"We are going to the biggest outlets in the US," said Zhi Yuemei, who is here with her husband for two weeks and has a budget of $10,000 for shopping. "We're going to buy Nike, Clinique, North Face and Bottega Veneta bags..

Lilibeth Nunez, a service associate at Louis Vuitton, said: "LV doesn't get many Chinese shoppers, because they come here for sales and we don't do that."

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