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Surprise summer sales lift in London's West End

New figures have shown that retailers in London’s West End experienced Christmas like sales in July with £100 million spend a week. A total of around £400 million for the month marks a 4.9% increase on July last year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Surprise summer sales lift in London's West End

New figures have shown that retailers in London’s West End experienced Christmas like sales in July with £100 million spend a week. A total of around £400 million for the month marks a 4.9% increase on July last year.

Data from New West End Company, which represents West End retailers, shows that Oxford Street had a particularly strong July, with sales improving by 7.3% year-on-year. Footfall was also up, rising by 6.5% on Oxford Street

Department stores saw their sales grow by 8.7% while luxury brands benefited even more with sales within Bond Street up 11.5%.

Chinese visitors, who accounted for 30% of West End foreign spending, spent 21% more than they did in July last year with an average of £1,410 per person.

Meanwhile, spend from US visitors was up 44% on July last year.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, said: “The West End had a remarkable July sales period which saw £400 million total spend, up 4.9% from the same period last year. Tourists looking to cash in on the weak pound have helped to alleviate, albeit on a temporary basis, some of the shockwaves that hit the economy following the Brexit vote.”

Despite the post Brexit vote bounce, New West Company said the longer-term picture suggests uncertain times ahead with retailers facing increasing costs and up to a 25% hit on profits due to an average increase of up to 80% on business rates in 2017.

Tyrrell added: “Business rates revaluation in early 2017 will hit West End retailers’ profits hard, by up to 25% in some cases with retailers expected to manage an average 80% increase which this will undoubtedly have a knock-on effects to jobs and investment around the UK.

“In the new post-Brexit environment the Government should reconsider the conditions that previously informed this decision and instead look to support this critical part of Britain’s economy that can make a huge contribution to the UK’s economic wellbeing in uncertain times ahead.”


 

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