Biggest shopping weekend of the year set to generate £150 million sales in London's West End
Sales in Londons West End in November fell by 2.6% year-on-year, according to the New West End Company which represents 600 fashion-led brands in the area. However sales are set increase to £150 million this weekend as Oxford Street and Regent Street close to traffic.
The company said several factors contributed to November’s figures including consumers' worries about the economy and the unseasonal warm weather which deterred shoppers from buying new winter clothing.
However, the company said that West End retailers have reported an upswing for December with shopper footfall for the first week of the month (w/c 28th November) up 3% on the previous week which is an annual jump of 1%. The retailers have attributed this increase to November pay day kick starting Christmas gift shopping and colder temperatures stimulating winter fashion sales.
This weekend the West End will host the seventh annual American Express Shop West End VIP Weekend where Oxford Street and Regent Street will close to traffic on both Saturday and Sunday to make way for shoppers and festive entertainment. This year’s shopping extravaganza will host London’s longest 30 hour Carol-A-Thon to raise money for Kids Company.
West End retailers are forecasting that £150 million will go through the tills this weekend.
Richard Dickinson, chief executive of New West End Company, said: "With 17 days until Christmas, we are working closely with the authorities to ensure those travelling into the West End have the best possible shopping experience and can move around easily. We have heard encouraging reports from retailers that sales are gaining momentum."
Paul Marsden, operations manager fo selling at John Lewis Oxford Street said: “We expect to see continued strong sales growth this week as there is no escaping that Christmas is around the corner. As the weather becomes cooler, we predict fashion, beauty and gifting will perform well, along with home as customers continue to invest in making improvements to their houses in preparation for visits from friends and family."
This year, American Express Shop West End VIP Weekend will aim to raise over £75,000 for Kids Company and give over 3,000 vulnerable children a proper Christmas. American Express will give double rewards to cardmembers and £1 to Kids Company every time an American Express Card is used in the West End over the weekend.
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