London retailers pledge 2,000 jobs if Sunday trading hours are extended
Retailers in London's West End and Knightsbridge shopping districts have pledged to create 2,000 jobs if Sunday trading hours are extended.
The pledge, which is supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson and retailers such as Fenwick, Harrods and Arcadia Group, comes after the Treasury revealed last week that it is to consider giving local areas the power to prolong trading hours for retailers.
Chancellor George Osborne cited New West End Company research in the announcement, confirming that an extra two hours of trading on Sunday would boost Central London businesses by £260 million each year and provide over 2,000 additional full time retail jobs.
The research, carried out by Volterra Partners, also suggested that together with the launch of Crossrail, the potential extension of Sunday trading hours could lead to almost a 100% uplift in West End turnover, helping it to climb from £8.8 billion in 2014 to an estimated £16 billion by 2025.
New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers in the West End, has launched the plan for additional jobs to coincide with the release of its new manifesto, the Charter for Growth. In addition to modernising Sunday trading laws, the Charter calls for action on air quality, a new approach to infrastructure and a planning system that advances the West End’s global competitiveness.
Sir Peter Rogers, chairman of New West End Company, said: “For years we have been urging the Government to create a more flexible Sunday trading environment, just one of a number of measures in our Charter to ensure the West End continues to grow and thrive.
“Today’s pledge follows through on the estimated job creation from a Sunday trading overhaul which will provide over 2,000 new jobs for Londoners and particularly young and unemployed. Not only will the move bring further employment but allows us to better compete with other retail hubs around the world, many of which offer 24 hour facilities. While we recognise that extended trading hours may not be appropriate across the UK, in the West End and Knightsbridge, it will have a transformative effect.”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, added: “Proposed changes to Sunday trading regulations could revolutionise the shopping experience for millions of Londoners and visitors to the city and enhance the capital’s position as an international shopping destination. We are now working to see how this can be best applied in the West End, to bring it into line with our global competitors and generate the extra jobs and income the city needs.”
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