Nov 28, 2016
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London’s West End stores outperform rest of UK on Black Friday weekend

Nov 28, 2016

London’s fashion-focused West End had a good three days on Friday-through-Sunday with some encouraging footfall figures and anecdotal reports of sales rising strongly.

The West End of London saw strong footfall across the entire Black Friday weekend

The New West End Company (NWEC), which represents retailers in Regent, Oxford and Bond Streets, as well as the surrounding area, said on Monday afternoon that Black Friday footfall rose 4.5% year-on-year.

And as of 14:00 on Monday, footfall for the entire shopping weekend was up 3% at 3.16m people.

Predictions last week had suggested Black Friday weekend would be an online-only affair an many newspapers reported deserted stores early last Friday. But while these predictions were clearly wrong, shopping malls and retail parks across the UK still saw anaemic visitor traffic in the past few days.

However, the West End appears to have benefitted from its destination status and from the large number of foreign tourists staying in London due to the weak UK currency.

NWEC said that as well as the 3% rise in footfall up until Monday, the rise for Friday, Saturday and Sunday was 3.8%, reaching 2.87m people.

Anecdotally, retailers are saying that sales were up in single digits on last year, with those that extended their Black Friday offers into the weekend saying they have seen bigger sales as a result
And they also said that this year shoppers were more likely to grab their bargains just before the shop doors closed. Between 20;00 and 21:00 on Black Friday, Bond Street and Regent Street saw significant footfall increases of 57.4% and 21.1%, respectively. And it was a golden hour on Oxford Street too with visitor traffic up a massive 50.7% on the year.

Between 20:00 and 21:00, Saturday footfall across the West End rose 15% and in the hour after that, it surged 28.5%. Take those two hours on Sunday and footfall rose 54% and 32%.

Steven medway, managing director training environment at NWEC, said: “Critics last year may have predicted that the annual discount day would become a largely online trend, but these figures testify to the strength of the West End’s bricks and mortar retailers… this annual event is far from being cloistered to online platforms.”
He added: “As the first key peak of the festive shopping season, and with Black Friday representing 1.25% of total annual sales, the US-borne phenomenon is showing no signs of slowing down. Last year the discount day was the second busiest shopping day of the year for the West End and following this year’s positive display we expect a similarly impressive result.

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