Sep 18, 2020
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'Local' London destinations almost back to full health but West End slumbers

Sep 18, 2020

Footfall to London’s West End remain down by around half year-on-year even though visitor traffic to more ‘local’ London retail destinations is on its way to a full recovery.

The West End is a shadow of its former self - Photo: Sandra Halliday

West End activity remains muted three months after the end of lockdown as tourists and office workers stay away.

New research from consumer and location intelligence specialist CACI shows a sharp divergence between the recoveries in the West End and other London neighbourhoods.

It has worked with Location Services since June 15 to track consumer movements within London and has issued figures up to September 6.

The West End has improved in recent periods and traffic now exceeds 50% of what it had been a year ago. But this is far from enough to help businesses in the area make any money.

Not that the West End is the worst-affected area with key office-worker areas Holborn and the City running at just 24% and 20% of their pre-pandemic levels. This is also devastating for retail as the City has become more important as a retail destination in recent years.

The low visitor traffic is linked to a lack of office workers and the wider unwillingness of both workers and other consumers to use public transport. That can be seen from the fact that four once-bustling London stations (King’s Cross, Euston, Victoria and Waterloo) are seeing an average of 25% of pre-pandemic consumer movements.

While some more ‘local’ London areas are almost back at 100% of their pre-Covid levels, better than the overall UK average of 78%, Alex McCulloch, Director of CACI, said that central London “is a shadow of its former self”.

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