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London's West End had 'remarkable' retail summer

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

22 Sep 2016

Retail

London - The hot weather, the launch of the night tube and a fall in the value of the sterling all contributed to London's West End enjoying 'a remarkable summer, with a 400 million pound total spent in July," stated Jace Tyrell, chief executive of New West End Company (NWEC).

“Tourists are evidently still keen to cash in on the weak pound and thus have helped alleviate – albeit on a temporary basis – some of the shockwaves that hit the economy following the Brexit vote."

Business rates will affect many retailers in 2017

“However, the longer-term horizon once the process of leaving the EU gets underway looks less bright, as the business rates revaluation in early 2017 will hit West End retailers’ profits by up to 25 percent in some cases.

“Retailers are also expected to manage an average 80 percent increase which will undoubtedly have significant knock-on effects.”

Tyrrell concluded: “In the new post-Brexit environment, the government should look to support, not undermine, the UK’s economic wellbeing given the uncertain times ahead.”

Total sales in the West End grew 1.5 per cent in August, compared with the same period last year, with department store sales growing 5.2 percent and sales of luxury goods increasing 19 percent.

The New West End Company, a trade body representing retailers in key London shopping streets including Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets, previously warned the effects of Brexit and business taxes could potentially hurt retailer profits.

Tourists flocked to London's hub of luxury stores

The summer months saw Bond Street's luxury retailers enjoy surge in sales, as appetite for high-end brands grew 19 percent, confirmed by Global Blue figures showing the number of transactions rose 48 percent and Springboard figures showing sales values rose 35.1 percent.

Department stores in the area also got a boosts with a 5.2 percent increase in sales following on from a 7.3 percent rise in July.

Photo credit:Oxford Street, source:Wikimedia Commons