Nov 2, 2016
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Tourists to drive Christmas sales growth in London's West End

Nov 2, 2016

An influx of foreign tourists will drive Christmas sales in London’s West End up to a record £2.34bn, a 1.6% rise year-on-year, despite the continuing move online depressing footfall, the New West End Company (NWEC) said Wednesday.

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The six-week shopping period should be boosted by increasing domestic consumer confidence, the retailer body said, although several factors will stop this turning into a consumer boom for UK shoppers.

NWEC, which represents stores in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, plus the surrounding area, is predicting average takings of £51.1m per day or £5.1m per hour during the peak Christmas period.

The Christmas shopping season officially starts this Sunday when the Christmas lights are switched on across the West End.

Despite a higher monetary spend overall in the area, footfall is expected to drop by 3.1% as more UK shoppers buy online. High street fashion chains will feel the effects of lower footfall most keenly with NWEC expecting the decrease in demand for clothing, which has seen in-store fashion sales falling for the past four months, to continue.
The trade body said that the season traditionally heralds a 30% increase in footfall and 65% higher spend per person in comparison to the rest of the year. And while footfall is likely to drop, spend per visit, should rise on the back of record low interest rates and a decrease in Britons travelling abroad due to the weak pound.
It has high hopes for the tourist boom to continue as the value of the pound stays almost 20% lower than it was before the EU referendum. It said luxury sales in the area have already benefitted from the falling pound with a 35% sales rise in September.

The higher foreign spending has been driven by Chinese, Saudi and American visitors, with the average spend-per-tourist reaching highs of £1,155 in September according to Global Blue.

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