London's West End predicted to have strongest Christmas in years
The New West End Company says that sales in the area are expected to grow by between 5% and 8% in December compared to last year, with sights set at the performance reaching 10.4%.
This follows research by retail intelligence specialist Springboard and interviews with major retailers in the area.
In total, 40 million people are expected to spend approximately £1 billion in the West End over the six week Christmas trading period.
The Christmas rush is expected to start over ‘Black Friday Weekend’, which starts on 28 November. The three-day bonanza is likely to be the West End’s busiest weekend of the entire period, with £220 million spent by shoppers on gifts, with family and friends’ promotions featuring prominently among retailers.
In addition, Christmas Day will fall on a Thursday this year, which means retailers are likely to see a last-minute mid-week surge in shoppers as well as a strong weekend on 20 and 21 December.
Springboard predicts that visitor numbers across the West End will grow by 5% in December compared to 2013.
Diane Wehrle, director of insights at Springboard, said: “International and domestic visitors flock to the West End because of our unrivalled retail and leisure offer and footfall and spend are key indicators or the West End’s performance.
“The West End economy is projected to achieve growth in footfall this December of 5% but double digit growth in spend of 10.4% reflects the improved consumer confidence that is now evident as a consequence of more a stable employment market low inflation and an increase in house prices.
“This will be a worthy achievement within the context of this year’s currency volatility and a strong pound but steady year on year growth in spend over the last few years reflects the West End’s resiliency and ability to withstand national and international economic pressures.”
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