Autumn Update from Chief Executive, Jace Tyrrell

As Q4 gets underway and we draw closer to the christmas trading period and Brexit deadlines, we are continuing to push our immediate priorities to secure a reversal of the Government’s tax free shopping decision and continued business rates relief for our West End businesses.

Looking ahead beyond 2020, New West End Company has been consulting on our future five-year Business Proposal. The overall strategy and key district outcomes have this week been approved by the Board. Within the most challenging trading environment of 2020, we have refocussed the strategy around ‘survival’ for the next few years, building our recovery and striving for growth from 2022 onwards.

Our overall aim, working with members and partners, is to strive to return our district to £10bn annual turnover within our next BID term, but within the new environment created by COVID and in a more sustainable way which responds to global consumer trends. 

There was strong consensus around our top 5 priorities this year and next as we respond to COVID:

  1. Reverse decision to abolish Tax Free Shopping
  2. Continue with Business Rates holiday until fundamental reform
  3. Get started on £150m Oxford Street District Scheme
  4. Push Mayor/TfL to Open Crossrail as soon as possible
  5. Present and activate temporary uses & empty voids across West End to encourage customers back

For now, we are continuing to focus on the resilience and recovery of the West End as we enter Christmas trading. This week, we have launched our West End Club and the first Mayfair Sculpture Trail, both of which you can read more about below, to encourage our visitors to the district, bringing our exclusive offering of arts, fashion, food and culture back to our West End customers and colleagues. We will also be releasing our West End COVID Christmas Guide for businesses, outlining our activities, key Christmas lights dates and supporting schemes, along with pushing the Government to extend Sunday Trading hours temporarily this Christmas period to spread the hours customers can shop in order to ensure that everyone visiting can enjoy the West End experience in a safe and COVID-secure way.

As well as the resilience of our district, we are also focussing on the resilience of our West End colleagues. At this month’s West End Resilience LIVE, we welcomed Hugh Milward, External and Legal Affairs at Microsoft, and John Carter, Senior Store Manager at Microsoft Oxford Circus. Hugh and John discussed up-skilling, re-skilling and different learning paths and resources available on topics such as resilience, emotional intelligence and interview techniques in what is even more rapidly becoming a digital world due to Covid-19. Click below to watch the full session, and to view the courses and training available from Microsoft, visit www.opportunity.linkedin.com

On your behalf, we are continuing to push Government to regularly review the current restrictions and guidance, and ensure that they continue to provide financial measures to support West End businesses through the uncertainty over the coming months.

Please see below for futher updates from New West End Company and our members and partners across our district. I thank you for your continued support and your commitment to our partnership approach as we work through this most extraordinary time. 

Yours in Partnership,

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Wed 14 October 2020