Dec 22, 2021
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West End Tuesday footfall rose compared to last week

Dec 22, 2021

Up or down? The answer is both if the question is “how is West End footfall faring at the moment?” Figures on Wednesday revealed that despite general trends showing UK consumers shunning busy shopping destinations, West End footfall was higher on Tuesday than it had been exactly a week earlier.

Picture: Nigel Taylor

That’s the good news. However, the bad news is that the number is still down 27% compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic period. Coming at a time when the key shopping district had been hoping to get such closer to 2019’s figures, it illustrates how retail remains hugely challenged.

Jace Tyrrell, CEO of the New West End Company, said: “Once again we are seeing fewer customers on the high street than there were two years ago. Retail and leisure businesses will have spent significant amounts of time and money preparing for a busy Christmas period, only for people to understandably stay at home in the face of rising Covid rates.

“It is therefore vital that they receive the financial support required to get them through the winter months - support that must go further than the limited package announced by the Treasury yesterday. We must see tangible relief for the retail industry, alongside more substantial measures for leisure businesses. Otherwise we run the risk of more much-loved brands being forced to close in the coming months.”

And Councillor Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, added: “The latest trading figures show just how tough the trading picture is on the streets. While we all need to abide by the health advice, the effects of work from home and what amounts to an unofficial lockdown are clearly keeping many people at home.

“Many of our shops face an uncertain Christmas and a precarious New Year with city centres taking a huge hit. That’s why I have written to the Chancellor urging him to consider more flexible grants and continued business rate relief to help revive the economy of central London.”

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