London’s West End expects summer footfall boost
New figures have shown that average footfall for the month of April was 45% lower in London’s West End than pre-pandemic levels, which according New West End Company was in line with expectations.
The organisation representing 600 businesses in the shopping district said the figure was encouraging given the continuing absence of international tourists, which usually account for a third of total visitors.
New West End Company is expecting footfall to increase steadily over the summer months as research commissioned by the organisation has revealed that that customer confidence has grown significantly as Londoners await their return to the office.
Some 64%of people polled said they feel confident shopping for non-essential items in the area while 61% said they feel confident about eating out in restaurants. In comparison, just 41% of consumers felt confident about shopping for non-essential items last June following the first reopening after lockdown.
The figures also show that consumers are much happier about getting on public transport with 54% saying they feel confident using the service compared to 35% in June 2020.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, said: “Londoners are heading back to the West End, confident in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe, while providing world-class shopping and hospitality services. Working with Westminster City Council and London-wide partners, we hope to welcome streams of visitors from London and the UK to experience the unparalleled offering of the West End this summer and enjoy the district as a destination in itself.”
The research also highlights a pent-up demand from London’s office workers to return to the workplace. Some 61% of London workers said they want to return full-time to the office, which marks a nine point increase since February 2021, and a ten-point increase in comparison with office workers elsewhere in the UK.
Tyrell added: “We’re further encouraged by increasing consumer confidence, and pent-up demand from office workers desperate to get back to their workplaces so we are keen to see this in action and welcome back workers and customers to come and support the West End as one in ten Londoners jobs depend on it.”