LONDON — London is back on track.
A new report from New West End Company and global property consultancy Colliers shows that London’s West End is recovering slowly as it nears closer to a turnover of 10 billion pounds by 2025.
Year-to-date sales have gone up 56 percent compared to 2021 despite the ongoing cost of living crisis and economic uncertainty, but it’s still 11 percent below 2019 levels.
The 2022 turnover for London’s West End was 8 billion pounds, but sales for the next two years are predicted to be lower.
“The influx of international visitors toward the end of last year was a welcome boost, but we must be aware that they are not returning at the same rate as destinations such as Paris and Milan, largely due to the offer of tax-free shopping on the continent,” said Dee Corsi, chief executive officer of New West End Company.
According to the report, it is expected that the overall volume of international visitors will have fully recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels by around mid-2023 to early 2024.
Health and beauty, electrical goods and department stores were among the most successful trading categories of 2022 with an emphasis on consumers increasingly investing in well-being and self care.
Corsi is optimistic that the reintroduction of tax-free shopping in the U.K. and the relaxation of Sunday trading laws in Knightsbridge will amplify sales.
“Today’s findings clearly show that we have an eager international audience with cash to spend waiting in the wings. We now simply have to ensure that we make the U.K. as attractive to them as possible,” she added.
Restoring tax-free shopping will benefit the Treasury 350 million pounds a year resulting in 1.6 million visitors spending an extra 2.1 billion pounds, according to estimates.