Foreign tourists held a notable share in the turnover of shopping centers in Turkey last year. Shopping with foreign cards amounted to TL 26.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 76 percent year-on-year, Sinan Öncel, the head of the United Brands Association (BMD) said.
"This year, the number of tourists to visit our country is expected to surge by 25 percent," Öncel told Anadolu Agency (AA). "We think foreign spending will increase by at least 50 percent compared to 2018 due to the effects of the exchange rate." Regarding the developments in the sector, BMD Chair Öncel said they observed an increase of 15 to 30 percent in the turnover of brands in 2018. He stated that last year, brands achieved a growth rate of 5 to 10 percent in real terms. "As BMD brands, we reached a turnover of TL 220 billion. Based on our observations, in the first quarter of 2019, we can talk about a 10 to 12 percent increase on average, mainly due to the cost-based price increases. If there is no extraordinary development, we expect a similar picture throughout the year," he noted.
Pointing to the importance of foreign spending for the retail sector and BMD brands, Öncel said that a significant portion of the turnover came from foreigners in the stores located in tourism-intensive regions such as Antalya, Bodrum, and Marmaris.
Öncel further explained that foreigners held a notable share in the turnovers of some shopping centers in Istanbul. He cited data by the Interbank Card Center (BKM), indicating that shopping with foreign cards in Turkey in 2018 rose by 76 percent year-on-year to TL 26.3 billion.
Öncel stressed that they expected double-digit growth in turnover of brands, similar to 2018. "However, I should say that the weighted portion of this year's growth will be due to the cost-based price increases," he continued. "In such a challenging year, a two to three percent growth in real terms will be a success for us."
He said that BMD member brands had around 4,000 stores abroad as of the end of 2018, highlighting that this figure is expected to reach at least 4,500 this year. Öncel recalled that 387 brands belonging to 146 BMD members have some 70,000 stores in 433 shopping centers and high streets countrywide. "Besides, online sales channels show an incremental increase in turnover every year," he added.