Sales in London’s West End fell in November but are set to bounce back in December.
Sales fell by -2.6% year on year, according to the New West End Company which represents 600 fashion brands on Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street. The wider UK market for non-food sales stands at -2.1% year on year.
Unseasonably warm weather was blamed for slow sales in winter stock while poor consumer confidence and the Crossrail development works along Oxford Street were attributed for the dip in sales.
However, West End retailers are already reporting an upturn in trade for December as shopper footfall for the first week of the month was up 3% on the previous week, an annual jump of 1%. Retailers attribute this increase to November pay day kick starting Christmas gift shopping and plummeting temperatures stimulating winter fashion sales.
Retailers are confident sales will gain further momentum this weekend as the West End hosts the seventh annual American Express Shop West End Very Important Pedestrian Weekend this weekend, forecasting that £150m will go through the tills.
Oxford Street and Regent Street will close to traffic on both the Saturday and Sunday to make way for shoppers and festive entertainment.
Richard Dickinson, chief executive of New West End Company, said: “With 17 days until Christmas, we are working closely with the authorities to ensure those travelling into the West End have the best possible shopping experience and can move around easily. We have heard encouraging reports from retailers that sales are gaining momentum.”
Paul Marsden, operations manager selling at John Lewis Oxford Street, said: “We expect to see continued strong sales growth this week as there is no escaping that Christmas is around the corner. As the weather becomes cooler, we predict fashion, beauty and gifting will perform well, along with home as customers continue to invest in making improvements to their houses in preparation for visits from friends and family.”