Retailers in London reported a bumper start to the festive shopping season with shoppers splashing out more than £250m in the West End over the weekend.

On Saturday, the New West End Company held its annual traffic-free event, called Shop West End VIP Day. More than one million shoppers descended on traffic-free Oxford Street and Regent Street, with many of the stores also offering special discounts alongside the street entertainment.

Retailers enjoyed their strongest trading day in three years, according to the New West End Company, and between 8-10% on the same day last year.

Some retailers slashed prices by up to 50%, and many retailers reported a rise in sales of big-ticket items of more than 10%, as shoppers seek to beat the VAT rise in January. Sales of gadgets such as iPhones also performed well.

Richard Dickinson, chief executive of the New West End Company, said on Saturday: “London’s West End welcomed over one million shoppers today who shrugged off economic concerns, just for one day, and enjoyed the great entertainment at the seasonal shopping spectacular.

“Retailers are reporting that average transaction size is up today compared with the same day last year.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This event shows London at its best and puts the West End firmly at the top of the table for world-class shopping.”