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West End retailers prepare for 115.5 million pound Black Friday

By Vivian Hendriksz

24 Nov 2016

Retail

Retailers across London's famous West End shopping district are said to be gearing up for a record breaking sales day tomorrow, as the U.S-borne shopping phenomenon takes place once more.

The New West End Company, the leading voice for retailers and landlords in London's West End, have predicted a 5 percent increase in sales this Black Friday, up from last year's promotional day. Total sales on November 25 are set to break records, hitting 115.5 million pounds - equal to 1.25 percent of West End retailers total annual sales.

Key retailers in West End participating in Black Friday this year include Debenhams, John Lewis and House of Fraser, who will be offering a series of promotions both online and in-store. Most retailers are expected to follow in the footsteps of online retailers by extending their discounts across the weekend, from Friday to Monday.

Overseas spend in the West End has seen a boost post-Brexit as well, as the New West End Company reveals tax-free sales in the area increased 44 percent in August alone. Domestic spend is also predicted to increase during the Black Friday weekend, as consumer confidence improves in the run up to Christmas.

"We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from across the UK and around the world to the West End this weekend as retailers in the district launch exclusive deals and discounts in-stores to mark Black Friday – the first key peak of the festive shopping season," commented Steven Medway, Managing Director Trading Environment at New West End Company.

In spite of the positive forecasts for Black Friday, Medway warns of the difficult times for retailers to come. "However, future challenges including further Brexit uncertainty and the prospect of business rates revaluation in April 2017, which will force West End businesses to pay an additional 125 million pounds a year in taxes, suggest a tough year ahead for retail trading."

Photo: Oxford Street via Oxfordstreet.co.uk