JINGLE TILLS: Central London retailers are gearing for a bumper Christmas season: Sales at stores on Bond, Oxford, and Regent streets — and in the immediate neighborhood — are set to rise 5-8 percent compared with last year, according to a report issued Wednesday by the New West End Company, which promotes businesses in the area.
The report said London’s West End is poised for “its strongest Christmas in years,” citing research from the retail intelligence firm Springboard as well as interviews with major retailers. Visitor numbers across the West End are set to grow by 5 percent in December, with 40 million shoppers poised to spend about 1 billion pounds, or $1.56 billion at current exchange.
The report — the first of its kind from the New West End Company — said the season will start with Black Friday — a relatively new phenomenon for the British — on Nov. 28, with sales continuing strongly into the weekend. “This three-day bonanza is likely to be the West End’s busiest weekend of the entire period,” the report said.
Other major shopping days include Dec. 1, or Cyber Monday; “Black Thursdays” on Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 when office parties are in full swing; the pre-Christmas weekend; Christmas Eve; Boxing Day — the day after Christmas, when discounting traditionally begins — and New Year’s Eve.
High-spending international shopper numbers are set to grow by 6.7 percent to 17.9 million, and more than 6 million passengers are set to travel in and out of Heathrow this Christmas.