London’s West End set for speedy recovery
New data has predicted that London’s West End is set for a speedy recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a new report, the shopping district is on track to achieve a turnover of £8.6 billion within the next 12 months.
Commissioned by New West End Company, which represents 600 retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners across Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Mayfair, the study by Colliers also predicts that the area will recover to its historic annual turnover of £10 billion within the next two years, and will supersede pre-pandemic levels by 14% by 2025.
Despite UK visitors making a return to the high street, retail and hospitality businesses in the area are facing challenges caused by the continued absence of high spending international travellers.
Paddy Gamble, co-head of retail strategy at Colliers, explained: “Areas with much greater levels of domestic trade have, and will continue, to recover quickest with UK generated sales to hit pre-pandemic levels by 2023. However areas with much greater reliance on tourists and international visitors will take longer to return to the levels of footfall and sales witnessed before the Covid lockdowns.”
Last year’s turnover figures show that spending across the West End was up by 30% from 2020, but was still only 46% of pre-pandemic levels.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, said: “Nearly two years on from the start of the pandemic and the road ahead for the West End looks promising with the long-anticipated opening of the £19 billion Elizabeth Line set to turbo charge our recovery. Whilst it is heartening to see domestic customers filling our high streets with optimism once again and travel restrictions gradually disappearing, we can speed up the nation’s recovery greatly by incentivising high spending tourists to return to our shores.”
New West End company is now calling for more Government support to help entice overseas holidaymakers back to the UK, a group that historically accounts for half of the West End’s annual turnover.
Tyrell added: “For us to succeed long-term we need to ensure that London’s West End and the wider country remains globally competitive to alternative world-cities. This means exploring a simplified visa process, reintroducing tax-free shopping and extending Sunday trading hours. We’re in good stead to build back better, but we must clear a path if we want tourists – who generate an estimated £237 billion across the UK every year and support one in eight London jobs – to flock back to our high streets.”
In October last year, New West End Company announced a collective planned £5 billion capital investment into the London’s West End over the next five years to diversify the district’s offering. New additions to the retail line-up over the next 24 months will include an Ikea store at the former Topshop flagship site on Oxford Street, Gymshark on Regent Street and a new flagship Hugh Boss store adjacent to Selfridges.
Image courtesy of New West End Company
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