Retailers in London’s West End are poised for a £2.34bn sales bonanza during the crucial Christmas trading period, boosted by spend from international tourists.
From this Sunday – when festive lights are switched on across London’s West End – until Christmas Day, revenues are set to rise 1.6% compared to the comparable six-week period last year.
According to the New West End Company’s Christmas Tracker Report 2016, retailers on Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and the surrounding areas will rake in £51.1m per day – or £5.1m per hour – during the peak trading season.
The New West End Company said it expects international tourists to “continue to flock” to the region to take advantage of the weakened pound following Brexit.
Spend from Chinese, Saudi and American tourists has already had an impact on the West End. Jewellery sales in the area spiked 20% in August compared to 2015, while sales of luxury goods rocketed 35% year-on-year in September.
The average spend per tourist reached highs of £1,155 in September, according to data from Global Blue.
Footfall to fall
But despite the predicted increase in spending over Christmas, footfall in the West End is forecast to drop 3.1% compared to last year, as more consumers opt to shop online and reduce the number of trips they make to high streets.
The New West End Company said fashion retailers were the most likely businesses to suffer from the decline in traffic.
Jace Tyrrell, New West End Company chief executive, said he was looking forward to a “buoyant” festive season, but warned that next year would be a tough one for businesses in the region.
“The New Year will ring in numerous challenges for our retail heartland and we will need full support from the Government on critical issues such as business rates to ensure we can continue to strengthen the UK economy as Article 50 is triggered and we enter two years of uncertainty as negotiations to leave the EU begin,” he said.
Tiffany & Co managing director Barratt West added it had “been a year of two halves” for the West End following a “palpable” drop in consumer confidence ahead of the Brexit vote, but hailed “strong performance” since the referendum.