Takings in London’s West End were at their highest of the year as a result of a traffic-free promotion designed to entice Christmas shoppers to the area.
Around 1 million shoppers spent £180m, down from £200m of revenue on the same day in 2010, on Oxford Street and Regent Street on Saturday. A further 600,000 shoppers put £100m through the tills on Sunday, resulting in the weekend’s total being up £50m on the comparable weekend in 2010, the New West End Company revealed.
It was the seventh year in which the area had been closed to vehicles during the area’s busiest shopping weekend, and the first time pedestrianisation lasted two days.
Richard Dickinson, chief executive of the New West End Company, said: “It’s a real shoppers’ market out there with stores offering discounts of up to 50%, and the tactic is working, with £20m going through the tills in the first three hours of Saturday’s trading.”
Selfridges said headphones, tablet computers, e-readers and chocolates were among its most popular products when it opened its doors to queues on Sunday.
Dickinson said: “Based on past experience we were confident that despite the slow start to seasonal spending, shoppers would get the tills ringing over the next two weeks but this weekend has exceeded expectations.
“Compared to Very Important Pedestrians Day last year, when Sunday saw traffic come back into the area, retailers are reporting significant rise in sales, with winter fashion and technology the most popular items. The hard work of all parties involved in securing an extra traffic-free day has really paid off.”
The usual more than 500 buses er hour were taken off the West End’s streets, leaving Oxford Street and Regent Street clear for shoppers.