I don’t want to make light of the economic downturn that has affected the entire world. Here in England, the media are really painting a picture of doom and gloom. Many retailers have gone bust or in to administration, including Woolworths, Whittard Tea, Officer’s Club (mens clothing), MFI (furniture retailer), Zavvi (music retailer, formerly Virgin Megastore) the list goes on.
But to be honest for me, things have never been better. Firstly, the RMB has appreciated sharply against the British pound since I last visited. It was 15 rmb to the pound just a few months ago, it’s now closer to 10 rmb. On top of that, retailers usually start the sales after Christmas, but this year, due to the poor economy, almost every retailer was offering deep discounts several weeks before Christmas. So on my very first day in London, I picked up two suits at Emporio Armani, both at half price (600 pounds down to 300 pounds). The original price in London was already way cheaper than Shanghai, so imagine how attractive 50% off and a stronger RMB would be. And finally of course as a non-resident, I will get the value added tax refunded at the airport when I leave the UK on Sunday.
WoAi gets behind the wheel for the first time in 2008.
With all the savings, I’ve had money left over to hire this Porsche for a few days. Some people were a bit horrified when I told them how much I spent to hire a car for a few days, but then you have to bear in mind this is my total motoring expenses for the whole year. If I lived in England, I’d spend more than that just on fuel in a year, then there’s road tax, insurance and depreciation to add to that. Remember guys, I take the bus to work every day when I am in Shanghai, so don’t give me any grief about this!
Details: Car hire by Prestige Car Hire.
Car is a Porsche Cayman S (2008 model) – 225 pounds (2300 rmb) per day plus delivery and VAT.
Leather jacket 395 pounds (4000 rmb) from Emporio Armani.
Jeans 40 pounds (400 rmb) by Gap, London.