The New West End Company, the retail body for London’s West End, has reported that November footflow for the West End, provided by Springboard, was up 5.9% year-on-year, defying the national drop in high street footfall, which was down 6%.
The London Retail Consortium (LRC) also released figures yesterday suggesting that retail sales in Central London in November were down 0.4% on the previous year on a like-for-like basis. This compared to UK figures for the same period of -2.6%, which indicates that London continues to outperform the UK in a tough economic climate.
The three month trend growth for September to November was -1.0%.
The strength of the euro and the dollar against the pound has seen an influx of international visitors to London’s West End; a trend expected to continue into the new year with London at its most affordable for more than 20 years.
Over 10 million overseas visitors will shop in the West End in the run up to Christmas. A recent report by Selfridges revealed almost 90% of fashion items are now cheaper in the West End than in equivalent stores in Paris, Milan and New York.
Beverley Aspinal, managing director at Fortnum & Mason, said: 'The strength of the euro has made a huge difference. Last weekend was really phenomenal. More than 70% of the customers in our restaurants were Europeans. And when they come they don’t just sit down with a salad. They have a main, a pudding and a bottle of wine. It’s great.'
Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) added: 'London retailers in particular will be helped as the weaker pound makes the UK very attractive to overseas shoppers. VAT and interest rate cuts will also help.'
The West End received a welcomed boost in footfall over the weekend with over 300,000 shoppers spending over £50m.