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Strong West End sales highlight regional divides

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In contrast to much of the rest of the UK, London’s West End area saw sales soar in July, a trading update released today revealed.

Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street in the centre of the capital witnessed overall trading increase 6.8 per cent year-on-year last month, which is considerably more impressive than the tiny 0.6 per cent growth reported by the British Retail Consortium for the country as a whole over the same period.

The footfall disparity between London’s premium shopping zone and the rest of the UK is even more dramatic, with the former seeing an eight per cent rise in the number of visitors during the month whilst the latter saw footfall fall 1.2 per cent compared the same month in 2010, according to research from retail trackers Springboard.

One of the most recent additions to the West End’s shopping offer is US youth fashion retailer Forever 21, which according to local business management group New West End Company has been re-stocking the store with between ten and 100 new lines every day since it opened during July.

Jace Tyrrell, New West End Company, said: “London’s West End is in a unique position - as a key destination for international visitors, retailers are able to maximise the commercial opportunity presented by high-spending international shoppers.

“As the peak period for Middle Eastern holidaymakers hit the West End, July figures were buoyed by these high-spending luxury shoppers.”

West London based shopping centre Westfield London also reported a sharp increase in luxury goods trading in July leading up to the holy month of Ramadan, with Middle Eastern customers looking to buy gifts and presents before heading home for the holiday.

This type of tourist trading is far harder for areas outside of London to attract and many economic indicators are showing widening gaps between different regions within the UK.

A recent report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warns that the employment balance over the last three months has risen by ten per cent in the southern half of the country but fell by six per cent in the north.

Published on Monday 15 August by Editorial Assistant

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