LONDON — British retailers are preparing for a royal sales boom during the long Platinum Jubilee weekend, which runs from June 2 to 5.
According to the latest figures from the New West End Company, which represents 600 retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners in central London, sales over the Jubilee weekend will hit 80 million pounds.
The business lobby said the weekend’s events, including Trooping the Colour on the morning of June 2, are expected to draw 2.6 million domestic and international visitors. The hope is that Jubilee enthusiasm will kick-start the recovery of British tourism following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
This is Britain’s first restriction-free summer since 2019.
Dee Corsi, New West End Company’s chief operating officer, said London’s West End will be transformed in the coming days, “with street parties, pageants and Her Majesty’s birthday parade. Retail and hospitality businesses across the West End are also gearing up to celebrate this special moment in British history with family-friendly activities on offer.”
She said the spending boom should stretch to all high streets across the country, and urged the “Great British public to come out, and support their high streets.”
New West End Company is also asking the British government for more support “to help entice overseas holidaymakers back to British shores, a group that historically contributes a vast amount to the wider economy.”
It is asking for a simplification of the U.K.’s visitor visa system, and a reconsideration of the abolition of tax-free shopping. Since its abolition last year, other major world cities have benefited from a 20 percent price advantage over the U.K., “pushing it even further down the travel wish list for high-net-worth tourists,” the organization said.
New West End Company is asking for an extension to Sunday trading hours, which run from noon to 6 p.m. The organization said that stretching the trading hours in key tourist neighborhoods such as the West End and Knightsbridge would generate an additional 250 million pounds worth of sales annually.
“We’re in good stead to build back better, but we must clear a path if we want tourists — who generate an estimated 237 billion pounds across the U.K. every year, and support one in eight London jobs — to flock back to our high streets,” Corsi said.
London has been on a charm offensive to win back international and local tourists as well as city center workers who have been trickling back into town following an end to lockdown restrictions.
Earlier this month, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan took to Times Square in Manhattan to launch the $12.5 million “Let’s Do London” campaign, in a bid to appeal to U.S. tourists.
The Elizabeth Line, an overground and underground train running east-west across London and into the outer suburbs., opened earlier this week. It is set to bring a boost of 400 million pounds to the West End and increase London’s transport capacity by around 10 percent.