The West End of London continues to buck national shopping trends but faces a number of challenges in the coming years, according to a report released today.
Increasing tourist spend and investment in the district’s lucrative real estate market have bolstered the West End, which experienced a 5.7% year-on-year jump in retail sales in 2013 compared with the previous year, well above the national average growth rate.
The figures were released today as part of the London’s West End: Review and Outlook report, published by BID’s New West End Company and Heart of London Business.
The West End, which includes Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street, also experienced its strongest retail property performance since 2007. Some 3.4 million sq ft of space was taken by retailers last year, up 34% from 2012, including prominent debuts by J Crew, Chanel and Bremont.
Core West End VAT-free international sales were up 22% from 2012, driven by continuing interest among wealthy shoppers from China, the Middle-East and South East Asia.
But the report warned that this consistent growth could lead to an over-dependence on tourism spend, which might fall away if international currency markets saw significant change.
Commenting on the report, Jones Lang LaSalle UK chief executive Guy Grainger said: “Record levels of prime rent on all of the major shopping streets in the area, unprecedented levels of interest for Core West End space from leisure operators in the last year, and continued economic recovery all point to a strong showing for 2014.
“However, complacency is dangerous and it is only through constant evolution that the West End will remain a prime tourist attraction for domestic and international visitors as well as investors.”