Opinion: Oxford Street needs post-pandemic retail reinvention

Oxford Street pedestrianisation

It’s the UK’s premier urban shopping destination, but London’s Oxford Street will need a lot of TLC to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Oxford Street and the surrounding roads and districts of the West End have long epitomised British retail at its best and generate annual sales of £10bn.

From the early 20th century, when Selfridges opened its doors in 1909, to the 21st where it is book-ended by value fashion giant Primark, Oxford Street has been home to retail firsts and flagships. But as lockdown eases, it has a challenge on its hands to draw shoppers once again.

The first and biggest issue will be to what extent people will want to return at all, and how long that might take.

That applies to consumers of all sorts, international and local. News footage showing people returning to the London transport system might seem encouraging at first, but it is probably not.

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