In Pictures: Oxford Street draws small groups of last minute shoppers

Oxford Street
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As the UK’s second lockdown looms, the last day of non-essential retail saw a lacklustre surge in shoppers in central London today.

Oxford Street presented enticing offers to consumers, with high-street stores including Gap, Sports Direct and Topshop/Topman all offering discounts – with little visible interest.

TheIndustry.fashion was on the scene, taking a detailed look at the fashion and beauty retailers last minute efforts for revenue.

GAP Oxford Street
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Gap

Last month Gap announced it was considering the exit of company-owned retail in the UK and Europe, which was a sad but nonetheless not entirely surprising revelation.

The American fashion giant Gap appeared desperate for customers down London’s iconic shopping district, offering customers 50% off everything – with no items excluded. Despite the sale, very few seemed interested and passed the store to head to more popular retailers.

Gemma Boothroyd, Apparel Analyst at GlobalData says that the shift to working from home and comfort clothing has come too late for Gap to capitalise on, commenting: “Despite comfortable clothing being in demand this year as European consumers have spent more time at home, it was too late for Gap to leverage its existing product lines, with its reputation already damaged by years of lacklustre ranges.”

Topshop
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Topshop/Topman

Topshop also was offering consumers 20% off items, with the younger demographic taking an interest in the retailers flagship store down Oxford Street.

Primark Oxford Street
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Primark

Primark surprisingly appeared to be failing to attract the anticipated last minute surge for essential items down Oxford Street, perhaps due to the fact that many shoppers are opting for stores that are closer to home. This can be backed up with crowds seen at Westfield Stratford, where Primark was making use of an extended queue.

The owner of Primark, Associated British Foods (ABF), has said it will take a £375 million hit from the loss of sales amid the latest enforced closures of non-essential retail across England in the face of COVID-19.

ABF Chief Finance Officer John Bason told the PA news agency that the company expects “strong” demand when stores reopen following the latest COVID-19 lockdown in England and may extend opening hours throughout December.

Zara

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Zara was the only retailer on Oxford Street to have an external queue on two premises, despite not visibly offering discounts or sale items. The trend continues in East London as the same levels of demand was seen at Westfield Stratford.

John Lewis
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John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis continued to engage with consumers, with continued footfall at the flagship store. The flagship shop boasts its largest ever Christmas Tree forest, showcasing seven new festive trends and room sets as well as a one stop gift emporium.

The retailer recently reported that to indulge in a little festive joy as respite, John Lewis customers are shopping for Christmas earlier than ever before, with Christmas sales reportedly +112% at this period compared to 2019.

Today it was announced that the John Lewis Partnership is to slash up to 1,500 jobs at its head office as it drastically cuts costs across the business.

Sports Direct Oxford Street
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Sports Direct

Sports Direct offered shoppers 20% off all items, receiving a similar level of consumer attention as Primark.

Boots
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Boots

Boots appeared to be the winning beauty and wellbeing retailer down Oxford Street, with other retailers such as Lush and The Body Shop struggling for customers.

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