Retailers in London’s Oxford Street have joined forces to launch a new-look chip and PIN gift card ahead of the Christmas trading period.

Spearheaded by the New West End Company, which represents hundreds of retailers in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and the surrounding areas, the cards can be loaded with up to £5,000 and are only available to purchase online.

New West End Company, which claimed the chip and PIN gift cards were “a first to the market”, said there is a “future opportunity” for the cards to be sold in stores and via mobile.

During the 18-month pilot of the scheme, which is launching this week, shoppers can use the gift card at any retailer that has regular chip and PIN machines and accepts MasterCard payments.

Rise in vouchers

Retailers in the West End have seen a rise in people getting vouchers and money for Christmas, so the card has been developed to cater for those who want to treat themselves after the big day.

It is also designed to better cater for luxury shoppers, particularly affluent tourists from overseas, who want to splash out during the festive season. Previous gift cards available to use in the West End had a limit of £1,000. 

Details of the new shopping card were obtained by Retail Week after research by New West End Company and Harper Dennis Hobbs predicted that £2.3bn will be spent by shoppers in London’s West End in the build up to Christmas.

The estimated spend of around £5.1m per hour would represent a 1.2% uplift in till receipts on last year and mark the West End’s most successful Christmas trading period since 2007.

In its Christmas Tracker Report, New West End Company said footfall is set to jump 30% compared to the annual average for the region, while average spend is poised to rocket 66% as lower prices and higher disposable incomes boost consumer confidence.