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London's West End prepares for Christmas sales surge

By Vivian Hendriksz

16 Nov 2017

Retail

Retailers across the nation may be struggling to attract shoppers during the vital Q4, but London's West End continues to boom, thanks to its unique mixture of stores as the shopping district predicts a positive Christmas trading period.

Sales in West End are expected to increase 1.5 percent to 2.61 billion pounds during the six week Christmas season, as international shoppers are set to take advantage of the weaker pound following the Brexit vote. Retailers located along London's busiest shopping streets are likely to enjoy a Merry Christmas and are predicted to see an average taking of 51.1 million pounds per day, or an expected 5.1 million pounds per hour during the peak holiday season.

West End sales set to grow 1.5 percent to 2.61 billion pounds over Christmas trading period

The Christmas trading season has long remained the cornerstone of the UK retail trade calendar, and the West End is no exception, as this period can account for up to 25 percent of retailers total annual trade. Which is why a number of larger retailers, such as Selfridges, have moved up their plans for the festive season. The iconic department previously made headlines when it opened its dedicated Christmas store in July, 147 days before December 25, as other retailers followed in suit.

"Christmas is not a time for cutting back," said Joe Station, Head of Marker Dynamics at GfK, in the West End Christmas Tracker Report 2017. "It’s the time of year where hearts are stronger than heads. I’m sure we’re about to witness record footfall from both domestic and international shoppers all looking to hit the West End for that Christmas magic. As ever, it will be the stores that can supply the best choice, glitz and glamour that will triumph. The search for a new, different and immersive experience will draw the crowds."

Both international and local shoppers have begun to come to West End in larger numbers, lured in by the weaker pound, a trend which is expected to continue over Christmas. Of the 200 million visitors coming to West End annually, 25 percent are international tourists who spend approximately 3.5 billion pounds every year, according to New West End Company. Sales made by non-European visitors increased by 28 percent between the month of July and August, as Chinese visitors splashed out during their annual Golden Week.

The West End district, which consists of 25 streets including Oxford, Bond and Regent Street, has continued to perform well over the year, despite economic and political uncertainty, with 65 new store opening during 2017, including UK firsts, such as Polish retailer Reserved, Arket and Weekday.

Photo: Uniqlo