Shopping in the USA
By Heidi Fuller-Love | September 2015 | 5 minute read
Basement prices, discount schemes for tourists and tax-free shopping are among the many incentives drawing bargain hunters across the Atlantic. According to data from the National Travel & Tourism Office, the UK was ranked as the US's fifth-largest inbound market in 2014, spending $13.2 billion.
"Pre-Christmas shopping trips to the USA offer the opportunity to do gift shopping whilst immersed in a twinkly-lit, carol-serenaded, snowy atmosphere, knowing the cost of the trip is justified by the huge savings you are making”
CAROLINE DONALDSON-SINCLAIR, FOR SIMON SHOPPING DESTINATIONS
Value deals: From transportation costs to discount vouchers, many shopping centres offer special perks to international visitors
Shopping choices: Malls tend to offer high-end shopping whilst outlets are bigger on bargains. Take your pick!
Festival fun: The biggest retail festival of the year is the USA Shopping Festival in October
Added goodies: Simon Shopping Malls offers ground transport to visiting agents and a VIP goodie bag and a tour of the centre. Contact UK travel trade representative Edna Hischer at email@example.com
Be a VIP: Most shopping centres, outlets and retailers will provide VIP shopping offers, if asked
Beyond the shops: Combine shopping and sightseeing so your client gets the most out of their break
Shop America: Boost your knowledge with the Shop America magazine full of valuable shopping tips
Flag up savings: Shoppers can easily cover the cost of their transatlantic flight with the savings they make shopping in the USA
Big-up Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving is the shopping event of the year. Most malls and outlets open early and offer amazing bargain prices
When to shop
UK visitors regularly choose the US as one of their favourite shopping destinations and flock Stateside to enjoy Black Friday’s door-buster deals in November, the slightly quieter bumper sales in summer, or the atmospheric festive season leading up to Christmas.
What the experts say
“With our ongoing promotion via Brand USA we are looking forward to continued growth from the UK. The major trends in US shopping are luxury and value – and travellers frequently need to purchase luggage to bring home all their bargains! Smart shoppers from the UK usually say they save enough on their shopping to pay for their travel.
“Shop America Tours offer more than 100 shopping, dining and cultural tours and experiences commissionable to the travel trade. The most popular packages include Shop & Shuttle Tours (transfer service) and VIP shopping discounts at leading outlets in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Orlando, Orange County and Aspen.
“Also very popular with FITs are the Macy’s Star Shopping packages in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas and many other cities. These are sold by major tour operators or can be purchased directly by agents, at a discount, by entering the code 'TravelTrade' online. Tax Free Shopping, similar to VAT refunds, is also very appealing to UK visitors.”
ROSEMARY MCCORMICK, PRESIDENT, SHOP AMERICA ALLIANCE
“It’s not just all about unearthing a bargain. There is something happening in our shopping centres year-round. In Las Vegas there are daily events and weekend fashion shows and many centres also offer seasonal events including celebrations for the Lunar New Year, Mexican Independence Day and other international holidays.”
KATHY ANDERSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ANDERSON RETAIL TOURISM MARKETING
Airlines: Jet2CityBreaks has expanded its New York programme for 2015, with 19 short breaks now available from five UK airports, including extra flights from Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle.
Shopping: With Simon Shopping Malls moving towards a much more ‘lifestyle-orientated’ shopping experience, the company has recently opened shopping centres with fire pits, water features, music stages and upmarket restaurants, including The Domain in Austin, Stanford Shopping Center, near San Francisco, and St Johns Town Center, in Jacksonville.
New Premium Outlets are scheduled to open in Gloucester, New Jersey; Tuscon, Arizona, and Tampa, Florida, in the next few months.
Partnerships: Los Angeles is partnering with American Express on an international shop LA programme which offers international card members special incentives.
Where to book it
Jet2 Holidays offers a three-night break in New York, staying at the five-star Soho Grand Hotel, priced from £889pp (based on two adults sharing), including flights from Leeds Bradford on November 13 2015.
A three-night shopping package to New York with Funway Holidays with flights, departing on February 2, 2016, staying at the three-star Distrikt Hotel and including a complimentary Simon Shopping destination booklet, Woodbury Common Premium Outlet package and free transportation starts from £695pp with two sharing a double room.
Shop America offers a two-and-a-half-hour Shop and Shuttle tour of Las Vegas, including bus transport, complimentary voucher booklet and VIP offers, priced from $42pp.