London's West End to return to historical annual turnover by 2025 - report
Some may have wondered whether it was ever going to happen but London’s West End is set to return to its historical annual turnover of £10 billion by 2025, according to new research.
And despite a slower recovery due to economic uncertainty, year-to-date sales in the region are up 109% compared to 2021 and spend continues to outperform footfall.
However, to ensure the West End “stays on the right track towards growth”, the New West End Company (NWEC) is calling for more support from the government to promote sustained growth, including reformed business rates and the relaxation of Sunday trading laws in the West End and Knightsbridge.
Commissioned by the NWEC – which represents 600 retail owners across Bond St, Oxford St, Regent St and Mayfair – the data in the report from Colliers confirmed the district “is still on track to hit turnover targets, a prediction that came before extra support was announced as part of the chancellor’s September mini-budget”.
NWEC said a significant part of this growth is being driven by the opening of the Elizabeth Line, which is expected to be the main mode of transport for 13% of visitors into the district by 2023. Increased visitor numbers from the new lines should lead to around a 7% boost in the West End’s annual performance by 2031, influencing between £700 million and £800 million a year (between £5 billion-£7 billion cumulatively by 2031) in additional sales.
As for the call to relax Sunday trading rules, NWEC said “Sunday is the busiest shopping day across the West End, yet for too long businesses have been forced to miss out on crucial trading hours with shops being forced to close at 6pm. If limitations were removed, it is estimated that the two International Centres would generate around £350 million of additional sales every year, supporting 2,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs”.
It added that the future reintroduction of tax-free shopping to UK high streets could bring an extra £2 billion in spend to district business annually, but West End experts are now calling on the Treasury “to go further in order to capitalise on the opportunity”.
Dee Corsi, interim NWEC CEO, said: “It is encouraging to see that we are still on track to hit £10 billion turnover despite the setbacks businesses across the West End have had to deal with this year. The Elizabeth Line is a welcome boost, and we hope the opening of Bond Street station will act as further encouragement for Londoners to come and spend time in the district.”
Corsi added: “The reintroduction of tax-free shopping is a huge win, levelling the playing field between us and other retail destinations such as Paris and Milan. We now need to capitalise on the momentum with the relaxation of Sunday trading hours to ensure we make London the most attractive destination for domestic and international visitors alike. We have an eager international audience with cash to spend waiting in the wings.”
Paddy Gamble, Co-Head of Retail Strategy & Analytics at Colliers also said: “Our research really quantifies exactly what is happening on the ground in terms of sales. Shopping patterns and consumer behaviours have changed since the pandemic so instead of customers visiting perhaps five days, where people might just be browsing, consumers are now coming into the West End maybe three days to work, and with an increased intent to purchase, which is really what is driving the numbers through the tills.”
Copyright © 2023 FashionNetwork.com All rights reserved.