West End bounce-back continues after further lockdown easing
The reopening of pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues on Monday boosted footfall to the West End this week, which would have had a positive knock-on effect on retailers in the district.
Taking a snapshot of footfall (on Thursday May 20), the New West End Company said visitor traffic rose 20% week-on-week. Given that the comparison was with May 13 when footfall was already higher than it had been in the months leading up to the reopening on April 12, the latest figure was more good news.
The ability to dine indoors in pubs and restaurants — as well as the opening of in-store cafés and restaurants operated by retailers from Selfridges to John Lewis, Arket and more — is the crucial factor in the recovery of the West End as a must-visit shopping destination. Increasing dwell time and giving consumers more reasons to visit the neighbourhood is an important factor in boosting retail revenues in what, before the pandemic, had been Europe's busiest shipping area.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive at New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and in Mayfair said: "For the first time this year, colleagues, friends and families have been able to enjoy a drink or bite to eat together, indoors and safely away from the weather. The West End has Britain’s greatest ecosystem of pubs, bars and restaurants, so the return of indoor service is a crucial part of our overall appeal.
“These figures, along with the positive ONS retail sales figures released today, give us the confidence we need to recover at pace, as well as the momentum needed to continue to welcome visitors back safely and with open arms. Shoppers can look forward to a summer of celebration in the West End, and we are confident that with the right support, we can be more successful than ever, as footfall and spending continues to rise.”
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