LONDON — Retailers in London’s West End are expecting 2025 to be a bumper year for sales, and while that may seem a long way away, it points to an upward trend in sales and consumer confidence in dark macro-economic times.
According to New West End Company, which lobbies on behalf of 600 businesses in key central London shopping areas of Mayfair, Soho and Oxford Circus, annual turnover is set to reach 10 billion pounds by 2025 due chiefly to the expansion of the Elizabeth underground and overground train line, which opened earlier this year.
New West End Company said that despite a slowed recovery due to the current economic uncertainty, year-to-date sales are up 109 percent compared to 2021 and spend continues to outperform footfall, according to a report it commissioned from Colliers, the global property consultancy.
Colliers said a “significant part” of the growth is being driven by the Elizabeth Line, which runs east-west through London and into the surrounding suburbs for more than 60 miles.
The Elizabeth Line is expected to be “the main mode of transport” for 13 percent of visitors into the West End by 2023, according to Colliers. Those increased visitor numbers will lead to a 7 percent boost in the West End’s annual performance by 2031, and contribute to between 700 million pounds and 800 million pounds per year in additional sales.
New West End Company said that since the end of the pandemic, retail footfall has been hampered by “a challenging consumer climate due to the cost-of-living crisis, international visitors remaining below pre-pandemic levels and a continued shift to online shopping. All of these have led to a difficult environment in which businesses are struggling to prosper.”
Dee Corsi, interim CEO of New West End Company, said it was “encouraging to see that we are still on track to hit 10 billion pounds in 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.”
The Bond Street station, near Selfridges and New Bond Street, is set to open on Oct. 24, following a series of delays. As reported, the Elizabeth Line opened earlier this year with Queen Elizabeth II cutting the ribbon on the long-awaited project.
As of Nov. 6, the Elizabeth Line will also be running on Sundays and making direct journeys into central London from Heathrow. The Heathrow to Bond Street trip will take 32 minutes, compared to nearly an hour on the Piccadilly line.
Paddy Gamble, co-head of Retail Strategy and Analytics at Colliers, said the research quantifies what is happening on the ground in terms of sales.
“Shopping patterns and consumer behaviors have changed since the pandemic, so instead of customers visiting perhaps five days, they are now coming into the West End maybe three days to work, and with an increased intent to purchase, which is really what is driving the numbers through the tills. With the full introduction of the Elizabeth Line, this is set to drive and boost spend even further.”