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American Tourists Splurge In Paris Boutiques As Euro Slides

PARIS, France - American tourist Shawna Wilson says she has splashed out on four dresses at the high - end LVMH - owned department store La Samaritaine in Paris, tempted by the prices as the euro reached parity with the U.S. dollar.

The euro tumbled below $1 on Wednesday for the first time in two decades on fears that rising energy prices triggered by the Ukraine conflict could tip the European Union into a prolonged economic crisis.

'It's like it's on sale here', said Wilson, 49, from Colorado, whose purchases included two dresses for her daughter. 'Because the euro and the dollar are about the same, it definitely encourages us to spend'.

The weak euro is big draw for tourists, particularly Americans - who are flagged as a key growth driver for the European luxury goods sector in the second quarter, according to analysts from Barclays.

The strong dollar versus the euro contributed to a four - fold rise in tourism spending in Europe in June compared with last year, with an acceleration in spending from Americans, analysts at UBS, citing data from VAT refund Planet, said.

The luxury sector has rebounded quickly from the pandemic as people rushed to spend money saved during lockdowns - buying themselves treats as socialising resumed.

But sales in China, the world's largest luxury good market, have plunged this year as a new wave of strict COVID-19 lockdowns shuttered shops, crimped demand and also meant fewer high - spending Chinese tourists in Europe.

Luxury goods companies Richemont and Burberry on Friday reported higher sales in Europe, which helped to offset a drop of more than 30% in China.

France has benefited most from the tourists' splurge.

Sales to tourists in France in June climbed to just 11.3% below 2019 levels, a positive sign for French luxury labels that have a big exposure to their home market, UBS analysts said.

American tourists were thronging Paris's Avenue Montaigne this week, browsing in the luxury boutiques, which include designer names such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci.

Jennifer Groner, a TikTok influencer, went on shopping spree in Paris in April when the euro was under pressure versus the dollar.

'I've never seen anything like this in terms of the prive savings', she told Reuters, estimating that she snapped up a Birkin bag from Hermes in Paris for $4,000 less than it would have cost her in the United States, paying little over $9,000, thanks also to a VAT refund.

'You're able to travel to Europe, take in the culture but at the same time buy a bag', said Groner, who also bought handbags and accessories from Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, for overall savings of $8,000 compared with U.S. prices, based on her calculations.



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