Retail sales in London’s West End were up 5.6% in December, with some West End retailers reporting double digit increases, according to The New West End Company.
Over two million shoppers visited Shop West End VIP Day, spending £200m for what retailers called “the best day’s trading in two years”.
Many retailers reported strong trading throughout the month of December with last-minute male shoppers galvanising a pre-Christmas rush, with £100m spent in the West End over the Monday-to-Thursday period before Christmas Day.
New West End Company chief executive Richard Dickinson, said: “In the lead up to Christmas some stores were reporting that trading was up around 10-12% on last year and even up on a record 2007. The end of December continued to see strong sales with shoppers queuing from the very early hours of Boxing Day in anticipation of picking up some fantastic bargains.”
Half a million shoppers visited West End stores on Boxing Day, spending over £60m on Sale and clearance items. A total of 1.2 million shoppers spent around £120m in the West End over the three days following Christmas.
International shoppers were attracted to London’s West End over other top shopping destinations this year, boosted by favourable exchange rates.
Notably sales to Kuwaiti nationals were up 33% year-on-year, with sales to Saudi Arabians up 42% and Chinese up 37%, according to figures from tax free shopping specialist Global Refund.