West End bounces back despite Black Friday terror scare false alarm

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Oxford Street Black Friday

London’s West End rallied over the weekend to outperform the country as shoppers returned to Oxford Street in droves despite the terror scare false alarm on Black Friday.

According to the New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses in the world-famous retail and leisure district, there was one per cent increase in shoppers over the weekend compared to the same weekend in 2016.

West End also had the best Black Friday on record up until 4pm – right before the false reports of an incident at Oxford Circus tube station emerged – when footfall up 4.5 per cent year-on-year.

New West End Company said that immediately after the incident, visitors returned to the area in droves over the weekend – especially Oxford Street where some department stores recorded their busiest Saturday of the year.

In addition, with the average high street footfall around the country down 2.5 per cent over the weekend, West End’s one per cent increase meant it outperformed them all.

Retailers in West End now expect a strong Christmas period, with till receipts in the six weeks running up to Christmas forecast to rise by 1.5 per cent to £2.61 billion.

“It was a relief that the activity at Oxford Circus on Friday was a false alarm with no serious injuries. Whilst it did impact numbers on Friday evening, the resilience of the West End has really shone through as footfall was recorded at over one million during the weekend,” New West End Company chief executive Jace Tyrrell said.

“Our shoppers, both domestic and international, continue to enjoy the fantastic experience the West End has to offer as one of the world’s leading retail and leisure destinations.”

New West End Company is currently exploring ways in which the district can respond to security incidents in the future.

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