Check out the global shopper

Bo Derek, an actress who won fame by wearing a swimsuit in a film, is quoted as having said: "Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping."

Let's suppose she's right. Where should you go, if you have wonga and you're willing to travel?

London, is the simple answer from the intelligent economists at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

You might think they're biased, as that's where they're based.

But they've looked in dispassionate detail at the vast market for internationally-mobile shoppers, ranking 33 European cities.

Their research suggests Chinese visitors are growing their spend, with an average £605 per person on shopping in the UK, and rapid rise in numbers.

The total Chinese tourist spend nearly doubled last year over the 2009 total.

Shoppers from the Middle East spend most, accounting for 28% of international spend, with the Russian spend rising fast.

Caution at home

So on a day with yet more Scottish Retail Consortium figures showing consumer spending habits are very frugal and cautious, and as Britain's economic news focuses on tough times in the jobs market, here's evidence that some people are not too worried about a double dip of recession, and are willing to travel the world to spend.

The challenge for cities is how to make themselves as attractive as possible to bring in the tourist dinar, remnimbi and rouble.

The total international tourist spend on shopping in London is reckoned to reach around £3bn per year. Tax free shopping was up 30% last year alone.

And according to this work, for Global Blue retail consultancy, London scores very highly on the sheer variety of what you can find there, well ahead of second-placed Paris - even if the English capital is no place for a bargain (Sofia in Bulgaria tops the tables for that).

Madrid and Barcelona tie for second place overall, scoring well across the board, including good cuisine, convenience and low prices for brand names.

Getting the messages

So what of closer to home? Glasgow's Buchanan Street has the third highest retail valuation of all Britain's streets, and Clydeside is generally seen as the second best shopping destination in Britain.

But the Intelligence Unit didn't bother to look at Glasgow.

Edinburgh was the only Scottish city included in its survey, and it came in at 26th equal, alongside Kiev, and behind Bratislava, Sofia and Bucharest. This appears to be a study that's 'talking Scotland down'.

The good news is that Scottish capital scores higher than London on convenience, placed ninth out of 33.

Incredibly, quarter of the 'convenience' weighting is on the ease of using Arabic, French, English, Russian and Spanish when you're trying on shoes and the like.

Another quarter is based on the willingness to haggle, which I've never seen as a strong point of Edinburgh shopping.

So the high score is more likely a reflection of Edinburgh's long opening hours.

The city does badly - third bottom, ahead of only Belgrade and Kiev - in the hotels and transport category.

That seems less of a judgement of the accommodation on offer, and more of a reflection on Edinburgh's public transport.

Time to get those trams finished.