Surprise summer sales lift in London's West End
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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