More than £200m went through the tills in the West End on Saturday as three miles of London’s shopping streets were pedestrianised.
Retailers hailed this year’s VIP Day (Very Important Pedestrians), organised by the New West End Company and sponsored by American Express, as “the best day’s trading in two years” and “the best traffic-free day ever”.
London streets Oxford Street and Regent Street were closed to traffic and many of the area’s 600 stores had to call in extra staff. Also, over half a million pounds worth of free entertainment, events, rewards and promotions were booked for the day.
New West End Company spokesman Jace Tyrrell said: “The shopping appetite was exceptional, with many stores reporting excellent sales in big ticket items before the January VAT change. Within the first hour this morning, we estimate that over 400 televisions had sold with the price point averaging over £1,000 a set.”
He added: “Fashion accessories did a roaring trade with over 1,000 luxury bags with the average price point of £700 sold by midday. Many stores reported that the European shoppers are still boosting luxury sales, with stores reporting sensational sales of Mulberry and Louis Vuitton.”
Speaking on the day, Selfridges store director Meave Wall said: “VIP Day has a great start outside our doors and is proving very successful in-store too. We are outperforming our sales overall compared to last year on the same day.”
Ed Watson, spokesperson for Debenhams, added: “VIP Day continues to go from strength to strength and this year was no different. Merino jumpers, Jasper Conran handbags, jars of jelly beans and Marc Jacobs perfume were just some of the things on the top of customers Christmas lists.”