West End footfall numbers struggle, still heavily down on pre-pandemic comparisons - NWEC
London West End footfall in the seven shopping days from 22-28 November inched up 2% week-on-week, and rose 11% over last year's Black Friday, latest figures from the New West End Company (NWEC) showed on Monday.
But that’s where the positive news ends, with the business body describing the weekly gain as only “a marginal improvement”.
As the Christmas shopping season kicks into gear, visits to the capital’s main shopping district, which includes Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, were still down 40% on Black Friday 2019 and 22% lower than the corresponding weekly figure two years ago.
Footfall in November as a whole is down 25% month-on-month compared with 2019 and down 55% year-to-date.
And things were hardly helped by weekend tube strikes that pushed footfall on Saturday down 19% on the previous week.
NWEC chief executive Jace Tyrrell said: "Despite the hurdles put in front of them, brands across the West End managed to attract even more visitors in the last week, with footfall figures rising slightly.
However, considering that we have just had the Black Friday weekend, these are marginal gains. The weekend's strike action across the Tube network has clearly left some would-be shoppers at home at a time when high street businesses so desperately need their support.
“Our hope is that the remaining planned action can be avoided so that high street businesses that are just getting back on their feet don't have to suffer further in what should be their most profitable season.”
He added: “Following the government's new guidance in the face of the Omicron variant, we also want to encourage all of our visitors to act responsibly in the district and wear a mask when travelling on public transport and in West End stores.”
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