Like-for-like (LFL) retail sales in London’s West End increased by 1.4 per cent year-on-year in May and were some way ahead of the UK average, new research shows.
According to New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers in the city’s Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street shopping hubs, the level of trade in London outperformed the UK as a whole during May partly due to the feel-good factor following the royal wedding.
Recently published British Retail Consortium and KPMG data shows that LFL retail sales across the UK were down 2.1 per cent year-on-year during the month, proving that the English capital’s prime shopping district remains relatively immune from the effects of low consumer confidence and purse tightening.
New West End Company cited the high temperatures and extra bank holidays in May as a major reason for London retailers’ successes, but as this was the case for most of the UK the real reason is arguably down to the city’s high tourism levels.
Jace Tyrrell, spokesperson for the organisation, said: “In comparison to the rest of the UK, London’s West End is holding up well, continuing its positive retail performance.
“Due in part to the soaring temperatures in London across the bank holiday weekends, retailers reported a spike in shopper numbers throughout the month, with both domestic and international shoppers buying into outdoor furnishings, summer accessories and holiday wear in preparation for the summer season.”
Although London’s retail scene appears to be healthy in relation to much of the rest of the UK, experts are warning that consumer uncertainty will continue to have a negative impact on retail businesses throughout the rest of 2011 and into next year.
Commenting last week, Verdict Research Consulting Director Neil Saunders said: “The problems in the consumer economy will be with well beyond the end of this year and it is unlikely that retail growth will return to average before the end of 2012.
“As the months of the calendar go by, the persistence of this low/no growth environment will continue to take its toll in the form of retail casualties.”