London’s West End boosted by growth in footfall
Shaftesbury, the real estate investment trust which invests in parts of London’s West End, has said it has now seen footfall return to 86% of the peak achieved in December in 2020 prior to the third Covid-19 lockdown.
Following the easing of lockdown restrictions on the retail sector on 12 April, Shaftesbury’s figures show that footfall in the area has continued to build. The company now expects the improvement to continue in the coming weeks and months as office worker begin to return to the area and indoor dining is permitted from mid-May.
To support the reopening, al fresco seating has been introduced across Carnaby, Chinatown, Fitzrovia, Seven Dials and Soho for over 3,000 people.
Brian Bickell, Shaftesbury chief executive, said: “It has been heartening to see people returning in large numbers to our iconic streets over the past week, in a safe and secure manner. The West End is beginning to feel alive once more, which has been made possible by the commitment that our partners and local businesses share with us to kickstart its recovery. Now as we approach the next milestone, it is important that this momentum is maintained to ensure this positive start to the easing of lockdown is sustained.”
Meanwhile, New West End Company has released figures showing that footfall in the West End was around 57% of the usual number of April visitors on Saturday 24 April as people made a return to shopping and eating in the district..
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and Mayfair said: “We’re encouraged by the sustained levels of footfall that we’ve seen in the district, already tracking well ahead of the first reopening in June 2020. However, it is imperative that businesses continue to be supported in the right ways to help them recover.
“We desperately need an extension of Sunday trading hours in Britain’s two international centres – London’s West End and Knightsbridge. These returning shoppers are looking for flexibility – we’re seeing high levels of footfall in the district in the evenings, highlighting the public’s desire to shop, dine and enjoy the West End at their convenience.”
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