West End footfall rises after Plan B restrictions are eased
The easing of Plan B Covid restrictions in England over the past week has seen consumers returning to London’s West End, which is home to the flagship stores of many of the fashion sector’s biggest retail names.
In the first full week after the rules were loosened, footfall in the area reached 79% of pre-pandemic levels, the New West End Company said.
Covering Thursday 27 January to Wednesday 2 February, that was the highest figure since November 2021, before fears over the Omicron variant meant consumers were less happy to face the crowds in major shopping districts.
Total daily footfall was up 10% week-on-week on average and importantly, morning commuter footfall was up 9% on average. That’s crucial as it means many people who shop, dine and generally socialise in the West End as part of their working day are returning.
Artjom Hatsaturjants, Head of Business Intelligence at NWEC, said: “Footfall figures for the first full week since the easing of Plan B restrictions show that London’s West End has experienced a promising boost. We have also seen morning commuter footfall growing at a pace. The return of office employees and UK visitors will no doubt be a relief to retailers and hospitality businesses in the district.”
But of course, one key group is still missing in big numbers — international tourists.
Hatsaturjants added: “We must now see concerted efforts to attract high spending overseas tourists back to the Capital to help accelerate the recovery of London's businesses from the challenges of the last two years.”
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