UK retail footfall continues to differ considerably depending on region, but new research shows that London’s West End continues to be a thriving hub for domestic and international shoppers alike.
Data from New West End Company indicates that retail sales increased 11 per cent year-on-year in June 2011, with food & drink trade up four per cent compared to the same month in 2010.
New West End Company, which represents more than 600 retailers on London’s Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, said that the rise in sales represented the largest annual growth since March 2010.
Jace Tyrrell, spokesperson for the New West End Company, said: “The summer months are incredibly important for West End retail as shopper spending reaches a mid-year peak around holiday season - as seen by the soaring sales figures in June.
“With a +6 per cent hike in visitors last month and 600,000 extra visitors set to come into the West End in July, strong summer sales are set to keep tills ringing.”
In contrast retail sales have laboured nationwide, with the latest survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showing that UK sales were up 1.5 per cent year-on-year in June but that this was primarily fuelled by discounts and promotions.
June’s rise followed annual trading declines in three out of the preceding four months, according to BRC figures.
Earlier this month Experian Footfall also revealed that the number of shoppers hitting the high streets and shopping centres of the north-east, north-west and east of England was down year-on-year in June, further highlighting the comparatively healthy position currently held by England’s capital.
And London’s West End is expected to continue to see strong levels of trading as the year progresses, partly due to the arrival of thousands of tourists during the forthcoming summer holiday period.
Retail tourism analysts Global Blue said today that there was a significant rise in shopping tourists to the UK in June, with a huge number having splashed their cash in London.
A considerable interest in iconic British brands such as Hackett, Hobbs, Topshop, Ted Baker and Dune was noted, and Global Blue forecasts that this trend will help transactions involving international visitors grow by around 25 per cent year-on-year in the final two quarters of 2011.
Nigel Dasler, Vice President UK of Global Blue, commented: “With an average monthly international spend increase of 60 per cent since the royal wedding and an increased international interest in London, British high street brands now have an unprecedented opportunity to maximise their marketing to increase their international sales market share.
“International shoppers are currently attracted by quintessentially British brands, and there is an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on their enthusiasm for British products.”