London’s West End is showing signs of recovery from the impact of the pandemic, with increasing footfall and trading levels, according to Shaftesbury, a major landlord in the area. The company, which owns a 16-acre portfolio in the West End, has reported a noticeable reduction in vacancies as more people return to the area. Between April and August, footfall levels reached between 50% and 60% of pre-pandemic levels. Although the office-based working population has not fully returned yet, Shaftesbury anticipates their comeback from early autumn. Retailers in Shaftesbury’s properties are reporting an improvement in trade, especially on weekends, and the company is witnessing a continuous recovery in occupier demand.

The latest data reveals a significant drop in the vacancy rate, with it decreasing to 4.1% as of August 13, from 8.4% at the end of March. Additionally, there is a positive trend in available space going under offer. Interestingly, online retailers are now seeking physical spaces to enhance their brand identity and offer a unique consumer experience. As a result, Shaftesbury is adapting its buildings to meet evolving occupier requirements, including reconfiguring larger shops to accommodate the growing demand for smaller, more affordable spaces to showcase brands.

Although there is still progress to be made, rent collections are gradually improving, with 55% of contracted rent collected in July. Shaftesbury remains confident that further collections will be made in the coming months.

In light of the positive developments, two useful links related to the article are included:

1. Shaftesbury Official Website: Visit Shaftesbury’s official website to learn more about the company and its portfolio in London’s West End.

2. Mayor of London Data Store: Access the Mayor of London’s Data Store for comprehensive data and information about London, including insights into the West End’s recovery and trends.