London’s Oxford Street and Regent Street are to go traffic-free on Boxing Day this year for the first time in an effort to boost trade in the premiere shopping district.

Boxing Day is the biggest shopping day of the year in the capital’s West End and it is hoped the pedestrianisation, on top of  a traffic-free weekend on December 10 and 11, will bring in additional spend of £50m.

The plans, unveiled today by London mayor Boris Johnson and business improvement organisation the New West End Company, follow a slump in trade in the district.

In March, West End stores suffered a 4.1% year-on-year sales fall and Oxford Street is being disrupted by work on the Crossrail scheme and Tube upgrades.

Johnson said: “The success of the West End will play a vital role in securing London’s reputation. I am delighted that we have been able to secure two new dates for the hugely popular traffic-free events, which will give retailers a major boost and set the tills ringing throughout the West End.”

The New West End Company is also launching a scheme devised to “explore alternative pathways and pit stops” in the area while the transport works continue.