The build-up to this week’s royal wedding, the unexpected hot weather and the fact millions of people had time off work all helped boost footfall and retail sales figures in London’s West End over the Easter weekend, new research shows.
According to the New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers located on the capital’s Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, said that two million people headed to these shopping hubs between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Footfall was up 4.1 per cent on the 2010 Easter weekend, while retailers saw uplifts in sales of spring collections and formalwear as a reaction to the better weather and in preparation to the royal celebrations respectively.
Some 800,000 visited the West End on Friday alone, and the forthcoming bank holiday is expected to provide a further fillip to the number of people heading towards this prime London retail destination.
Jace Tyrrell, a spokesperson for the New West End Company, said: “Soaring temperatures this weekend gave visitor numbers in the West End a real boost … with ‘Great Friday’ seeing a huge 18.8 per cent leap in visitor numbers compared to Good Friday 2010.
“Visitors hit the streets to make the most of the long weekend in the city and pick up decorations, commemorative pieces and outfits for next weekend’s royal wedding celebrations.
“After this strong weekend, we anticipate that the Easter break, coupled with the four day royal wedding and May bank holiday break will give retailers a welcome lift in April sales figures.”
While London retail appears to be benefiting from the royal wedding frenzy, retailers in other parts of the UK may not be faring so well.
Consumer behaviour analyst Experian FootFall estimated today that the Easter bank holiday Monday will have seen shopping footfall in the UK drop by 25 per cent year-on-year, although the number of people heading to high streets and shopping centres is expected to grow two per cent in the next three days compared to the same period last year.
Neil Bennett, Product Manager at FootFall, remarked: “Current progressive footfall for this year is down by around 1.2 per cent year-on-year in the UK, but buoyed by a strong January.
“February and March were more challenging, with run-rate performance closer minus two per cent.
“The addition of an extra holiday day for the royal wedding, the timing of Easter and for some, better weather will mean more leisure time for people, it won’t necessarily mean they spend this time shopping.”