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London's West End enjoys 'remarkable' summer as trade is boosted by overseas shoppers

London’s West End benefited from a surge in spending by overseas visitors in August as the amount spent by Chinese tourists climbed by 65%.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

London's West End enjoys 'remarkable' summer as trade is boosted by overseas shoppers

London’s West End benefited from a surge in spending by overseas visitors in August as the amount spent by Chinese tourists climbed by 65%.

Figures from the New West End Company show that total non-EU climbed by 44% year-on-year as total sales in the district rose by 1.5%.

Bond Street enjoyed a particularly strong month for non-EU sales, with transactions up 48%.

Chinese visitor spend was up 65% on August last year, with an average spend of £1,453 per person. Meanwhile spending by US and Hong Kong tourists climbed by 74% and 72% respectively.

Looking at sectors, luxury proved to be ahead of the pack with retail sales up 19%, on last year. The district also saw a 19.5% year-on-year increase on jewellery sales.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, said: “The West End has enjoyed a remarkable summer, with the £400 million total spend in July giving way to a 44% increase in sales across the district in August. Tourists are evidently still keen to cash in on the weak pound and thus have helped alleviate, albeit on a temporary basis, some of the shockwaves that hit the economy following the Brexit vote.”

New West End Company said the increase in tourist spend has done much to alleviate immediate post Brexit economic flux but said domestic consumer confidence is less certain. It also highlighted the constant challenges retailers are facing, particularly a business rates revaluation in early 2017 which will increase costs on West End retailers by an average of 80%.

Tyrell added: “The longer-term horizon once the process of leaving the EU gets underway looks less bright, as the business rates revaluation in early 2017 will hit West End retailers’ profits by up to 25% in some cases. Retailers are also expected to manage an average 80% increase which will undoubtedly have significant knock-on effects. In the new post-Brexit environment, the Government should look to support, not undermine, the UK’s economic wellbeing given the uncertain times ahead.”


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