New West End Company chief executive Richard Dickenson today announced the company was going to boost its marketing budget by 20% to counteract the decline in the retail sector.

Speaking at a breakfast in Mayfair’s Sketch restaurant Dickenson said the company, which promotes the interest of London’s internationally renowned shopping trinity of Oxford, Regent and Bond Street, said the company would try to boost sales with a series of events and campaigns.

Difficult conditions

‘It’s not looking too clever when the Bank of England has to loan the banks £50bn,’ he told the gathering of retail heads. ‘We are also facing competition internationally for our customers’ discretionary pounds as well as new shopping centres opening closer to home.

There will be a 20% increase in our marketing budget over the next year in light of the current marketing conditions.’

Dickenson said there would be six major marketing campaigns over the year including a Luxury London campaign focussed on the opulent goods on offer.

There will also be West End Summer and Christmas campaigns and a ‘100 Years of West End Style’ campaign.

Customers concerns

Dickenson also said the company would focus on tackling the two major concerns of shoppers, congestion and crime, with measures including a wider use of CCTV technology and a new diagonal crossing at Oxford Circus.

The event was opened with a speech from Mike Hussey, managing director of Land Securities’ London portfolio and a board member of the New West End Company, who emphasised the need to view the area as a cultural, as well as retail, Mecca.

The area has around 200m visitors a year spending £5.5bn.