May 4, 2022
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West End set to boom on tourists' return - report

May 4, 2022

Cheery news for London retail. After the pandemic starved the capital of overseas tourists, they’re now expected to flock back, according to a new report.

Photo: Nigel Taylor

Pointing to a “resilient recovery in occupier demand and rental tone”, analysts at investment firm Peel Hunt said the future "looked bright" for the central London shopping destination, “despite wider uncertainty and the cost of living squeeze.”

It comes as commercial property services company Colliers forecast retail volumes in central London to more than double this year and to surpass pre-pandemic levels next year. “That provides a strong underpin to the renaissance”, Peel Hunt added.

The return of international tourism has boosted footfall on Oxford and Regent Streets in recent weeks, alongside the revival of office working this spring, it also noted. 

The Peel Hunt report also said: “Domestic consumer spending in the West End is arguably less exposed to the squeeze on incomes than other markets as a result of the more affluent demographic”.

It also pointed to shoppers being more likely to “pare back spending elsewhere” due to the “experiential element” of the area.

Late last month, commercial property giant Shaftesbury, which operates a 16-acre portfolio in central London, said its post-pandemic business continues to improve. “We are now looking forward to an extended period of uninterrupted trading as we enter the important summer season,” chief executive Brian Bickell said at the time.

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