London’s West End retail market outperformed the rest of the UK again for the month of February, said the New West End Company.
It said that despite the West End experiencing a slight dip in footfall of-0.4% year on year for the month of February, according to footfall data trackers Springboard, the rest of the UK saw footfall plummet to -7.8% year on year.
The New West End company said domestic shoppers, who for the first time chose to stay at home for half term instead of travelling abroad, and London Fashion Week kick started fashion sales enabling the West End to ‘buck the national trend’. It said both factors helped revive footfall numbers after four days’ trading lost to snow.
Jace Tyrrell, spokesperson for New West End Company, said: ‘London Fashion Week is a key contributor to London’s economy in terms of direct sales. As the world’s number one shopping and fashion destination, the West End really benefited from the fortunes of London Fashion Week. Tills began ringing as young shoppers, influenced by the fashion trends, prepared themselves early for the spring seasons.
‘We also experienced an unprecedented influx of families into the West End during the half term period, who chose to have a ‘West End Break’ rather than take a trip abroad; footfall was up by +3.0% year on year. There was a continued influx of international and European family visitors, both taking advantage of the favourable exchange rates and choosing the West End for weekend breaks.’
Harold Tillman, chairman at the British Fashion Council, said: ‘We have just finished an incredibly positive week for British fashion in terms of extraordinary British talent showcased, as well as media coverage and orders written. London Fashion Week is worth £20m to the London economy in terms of direct spend, some of this directly going to businesses based in the West End. This season saw some of the best attendance figures from both traditional and emerging markets, in a number of years and we hope that this trend continues next season as we continue to celebrate 25 years of British Fashion.'
John Lewis’s Oxford Street reported strong sales across a number of departments, including jewellery and beauty in their flagship store, with a number of departments beating their budgets.
Julie Blake, operations manager at John Lewis, said: ‘John Lewis Oxford Street was pleased with its February sales despite the heavy snowfall at the beginning of the period. International shoppers who are eligible for tax free shopping, were clearly enjoying visiting London, with the average spend for these shoppers increasing by +37% on last year.’
Christine Watts, communications director at Selfridges, said: ‘We always have a lot of young customers shopping here and the store is even buzzier during London Fashion Week. Our younger customers love our mix of high street and chic street brands and our hugely successful launch of supermodel Erin Wasson's fashion collection shows how customers are still happy to come out and buy exciting products.’