UK long weekend footfall to soar, West End to see £80 million spend
UK retail footfall is continuing to recover — albeit slowly — from the pandemic and specialist tracking company Springboard has predicted that the current holiday week will see an 8% rise.
And a predicted £80 million is set to be spent in London’s West End from Thursday to Sunday. If repeated across the country, that would mean a major boost at a time when retail is under heavy pressure.
This week includes both the school half-term holiday and two public holidays on Thursday and Friday, turning it into a long weekend for many.
But it won’t be a holiday for most workers in retail with stores set to open to take advantage of the consumer interest that half-term and the Platinum Jubilee will provide.
Springboard said high streets across the UK are expected to see footfall surge by 10%, with shopping centres up 7% and retail parks 4%.
Over the bank holiday, the weather is forecast to be sunny but not hugely hot on Thursday and Friday, followed by showery weather over the weekend. This tends to boost shopping trips as day trips to beaches and other leisure attractions seem less appealing.
It also said that in the lead up to the Jubilee, footfall rose by 2.3% last week across UK retail destinations from the week before, with increases that were broadly similar in all three key destination types.
And the ongoing shift back to the office by employees for at least some days each week was illustrated by a rise in footfall in Central London of 4.1%.
That bodes well for the Jubilee weekend and research by the New West End Company predicts that there will be 2.6 million domestic and international visitors to central London over the four days. As mentioned, they’re predicted to spend around £80 million.
That would be an encouraging sign of recovery, but NWEC is repeating its calls for the government to bring back tax-free shopping for tourists and to further liberalise Sunday trading hours to given an extra boost.
Dee Corsi, CEO of New West End Company, said: "The recovery of the West End is on track, but for us to succeed long-term we need to ensure that the nation’s high street and the wider country remain globally competitive. There are simple routes to achieving this — exploring a simplified visa process, reintroducing tax-free shopping and extending Sunday trading hours.”
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