Aug 24, 2022
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Oxford Street footfall benefits from international travellers

Aug 24, 2022

London’s Oxford Street is slowly returning to its tourist-attraction best. Regarded as the UK busiest shopping destination before the pandemic struck, overseas visitor numbers in July were up 24% from the previous month, suggesting international travel is finally made its long-awaited return.

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That's according to RSM UK’s analysis of the latest data from Datscha that suggested major events were likely to have drawn international tourists to the UK, including the Women’s Euros, with the finals being hosted at Wembley.

Its figures also showed overall footfall increased 16% in July, compared to the previous month. As well as London, Leeds (up 26%), Brighton (up 19%) and Newcastle (up 14%) also saw significant increases in visitor numbers. 

A combination of factors will have also contributed to the positive footfall levels in July, including the prolonged period of hot weather and the beginning of the school summer holidays. 

Footfall levels have also remained robust despite external factors such as rail strikes, putting a further strain on the retail and wider hospitality industry. 

“Footfall continues to go against the trend of falling consumer confidence which hit an all-time low in July”, said RSM.

Jacqui Baker, partner and head of retail at RSM UK, added: “Retailers are reaping the benefits of increased footfall. Despite the mounting pressures being faced by consumers in the form of rising energy prices, inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, footfall levels have managed to hold up significantly well in July. 

But she noted: “While it’s managing to resist succumbing to the same drops in consumer confidence, we suspect there’s a lag and it’s only a matter of time before footfall starts to follow suit. It will undoubtably be a tough period ahead for the retail sector.” 

She added: “With another jump in energy bills looming in October, this will see consumers tighten their belts even further. It’s crucial that retailers start thinking ahead in terms of how they can cut costs and continue to attract consumers to their stores. The coming months will be an opportune time for the government to step in and provide additional assistance, or there’s a very bumpy ride ahead for these retailers.”

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