London’s West End has achieved a significant milestone in terms of footfall since the pandemic, signaling a positive start to the festive trading period, according to the New West End Company (NWEC). Despite the challenges faced by physical retail due to the rise of online shopping, the weekend around Black Friday saw a surge in footfall, surpassing figures from 2019.

The increase in footfall was mainly driven by early morning shoppers, with the period between 8 am and 12 pm being the peak time. Even with the closures on the Elizabeth Line tube, shoppers were still eager to find early bird deals in physical stores. NWEC’s on-street survey revealed that 60% of visitors considered Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals as a significant reason for visiting London, and 33% indicated they were likely to spend more as a result.

Consumer preferences have shifted towards experiences since the end of the pandemic, and the West End’s ‘Magic Days’ campaign aims to capitalize on this trend. The campaign offers various festive “surprise and delight” moments, including on-street entertainment and exclusive in-store deals. This campaign will span across three weekends in December, appealing to visitors with its unique offerings.

To celebrate the positive start to the trading season and showcase the events in the West End this Christmas, NWEC has teamed up with Outernet, a visitor attraction company, to screen Oxford Street’s first festive advert. The advert features two young girls experiencing the enchanting activities in the West End, such as a life-size enchanted snow globe and the district’s first ice-rink. The ad was exclusively premiered on the Outernet’s Vista screens on December 7.

Dee Corsi, CEO of NWEC, expressed quiet optimism regarding the consecutive weekends of significant footfall uplift. She highlighted the importance of exceptional experiences in physical retail and immersive leisure, which continue to attract both domestic and international visitors. These experiences have played a crucial role in maintaining the resilience of the West End despite challenging economic conditions.

NWEC’s November forecasts predicted that consumer spending could reach up to £1.64 billion during the festive period. Domestic spending is expected to peak on Black Friday and December 23, while international spending is anticipated to spike on Boxing Day.

In conclusion, London’s West End has displayed resilience and promising signs of recovery, setting a positive tone for the festive trading season. The increased footfall, driven by early morning shoppers and attractive experiences, bodes well for businesses and visitors alike during this critical period.

Useful links:
1. New West End Company
2. Outernet