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London’s West End forecast to reach “historic annual turnover” of £10 billion by 2025

Tom Bottomley
10 October 2022

Despite a slowing rate of recovery due to economic uncertainty, London’s West End looks set to reach a historic annual turnover of £10 billion by 2025, with sales up 109% in 2022 compared to 2021, as “spend continues to outperform footfall”.

A significant part of the growth is being driven by the opening of the Elizabeth Line, which is expected to be the main mode of transport for 13% of visitors into the West End by 2023, according to a new report by property consultancy Colliers.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These figures show the resilience of one of London’s top tourist destinations as it continues to recover from the pandemic. I’m proud that the Elizabeth Line is helping to turbo-charge the West End's recovery and build a more prosperous London for everyone. It will receive a further boost this month with the opening of a new station at Bond Street giving Londoners and tourists quick and direct access to the heart of the West End.”

The New West End Company (NWEC), which represents 600 retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners across Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Mayfair, initially commissioned the report from Colliers in February of this year to explore how the West End was recovering post-pandemic, and the latest data confirms that the district is “still on track” to hit turnover targets.

However, recovery is “not without its challenges” as, since the last report, retail footfall has been hampered by a challenging consumer climate due to the cost of living crisis, the number of international visitors remaining below pre-pandemic levels and a continued shift to online shopping.

Dee Corsi, Interim Chief Executive of New West End Company, said: “It is encouraging to see that we are still on track to hit £10 billion turnover despite the setbacks businesses across the West End have had to deal with this year. The Elizabeth Line is a welcome boost, and we hope the opening of Bond Street station will act as further encouragement for Londoners to come and spend time in the district.”

Paddy Gamble, Co-Head of Retail Strategy & Analytics at Colliers says that their research really quantifies what is happening on the ground in terms of sales, with people making trips in to the West End less frequently but “with an increased intent to purchase.”

Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive at London landlord GPE, commented: “Despite the challenging macro-economic backdrop, it is encouraging that West End retail sales are improving, and turnover is expected to return to more historical levels.

“Our recent leasing experience supports this positive trend, demonstrating continued demand for our brand of high quality, well-located space. This is particularly evident in the West End, where our customers are using quality office space to help attract and retain talent and the area’s unique and diverse mix of commercial, retail and cultural attractions forms a key part of that offer.”

The reintroduction of tax-free shopping to UK high streets could bring an extra £2 billion in spend in the West End annually, but to ensure the West End stays on the right track towards growth, NWEC is calling for more support from the Government, including the relaxation of Sunday trading laws in the West End and Knightsbridge.

Corsi added: “The reintroduction of tax-free shopping is a huge win for the West End, levelling the playing field between us and other retail destinations such as Paris and Milan. We now need to capitalise on the momentum with the relaxation of Sunday trading hours to ensure we make London the most attractive destination for domestic and international visitors alike, stimulating further growth and putting us back on the map.

“We have an eager international audience with cash to spend waiting in the wings – we now simply have to ensure that we’re open for business at the right times.”

Sunday is the busiest shopping day across the West End, yet NWEC says for too long businesses have been forced to miss out on crucial trading hours with shops being forced to close at 6pm. If limitations were removed, it is estimated that the two “International Centres”, which it calls the West End and Knightsbridge, would generate around £350 million of additional sales every year, supporting circa 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

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