Footfall leaps 20% in London’s West End
Footfall in the West End was up 20% on Thursday 20 May, compared to Thursday last week, clearly an impact of the easing of lockdown restrictions across the hospitality sector allowing customers back inside, according to figures from the New West End Company.
West End theatres, restaurants and pubs got a much needed boost, with positive signs of recovery the talk of the town on what has been coined “Thirsty Thursday”.
Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive at New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and in Mayfair, said: “For the first time this year, colleagues, friends and families have been able to enjoy a drink or bite to eat together, indoors and safely away from the weather.
“The West End has Britain’s greatest ecosystem of pubs, bars and restaurants, so the return of indoor service is a crucial part of our overall appeal. With footfall rising 20% compared with the same day last week, we’re looking forward to many more ‘Thirsty Thursdays as shoppers and office workers return over the summer.
“These figures, along with the positive ONS retail sales figures released today, give us the confidence we need to recover at pace.”
Tyrrell stressed the importance of building “momentum” as footfall and spending continues to rise, while pointing out the need to give businesses as much flexibility as possible to aid their recovery.
“It is imperative that businesses in the district are given every chance possible to thrive, which is why we continue our call for support from the government in the form of more relaxed Sunday trading laws. Consumers demand flexibility as part of their post-pandemic recovery, and they shouldn’t be limited further by these archaic policies.
“Giving visitors the opportunity to shop where they want, when they want, is vital and something we believe will be beneficial to all.”