Poor weather and early Spring/Summer fashions sales and bumper volumes of gift food transactions helped to drive respectable retail sales in London’s West End over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Two million shoppers visited the West End over the four day holiday, kicking off with what the New West End Company dubbed as “Great Friday”, which saw far stronger sales than expected.

Jace Tyrrell, spokesperson for New West End Company, said retailers reported footfall highs on Friday, which looks to have been the strongest day of the weekend, as many West End stores saw double digit sales increases for the day.

Tyrrell added: “Poor weather on Friday drove visitors to the capital into West End stores. This helped to compensate for weaker trading on Saturday.”

Beverley Aspinall, managing director at Fortnum & Mason, said: “Easter is always Fortnum’s second biggest peak in the calendar, but this year has been especially busy. We have increased sales by 23% over last year, with the shop, the web and the restaurants all in double figure increases. European tourism remains strong, but the shop and restaurants are also full of British families taking a London break over Easter.”

Julie Blake, spokesperson for John Lewis Oxford Street, added:“This year’s Easter trend seems to be decorating the home for the Bank Holiday – spring bunting, the speckled egg wreath and knitted hanging eggs are all predicted to be best-sellers.”