End of Summer Message from Chief Executive, Jace Tyrrell

As September begins, it’s time to reflect on arguably the most extraordinary Summer that the West End has experienced, and begin to look forward to the future as we outline our key recovery campaigns for the West End and look further ahead to what the next five years will bring. Since the reopening of the West End in June, the hard work of both the New West End Company team and you, our members, highlights the power of working together, and showcases the determination of our district. 

We are acutely aware of the central London challenge with staggering low visitors, the slow return of our office workers and very few tourists. We are continuing to focus on the West End’s reopening and resilience and encouraging customers to return. 

Although we have seen a stabilising of our footfall with a 50% return since reopening, current trading levels are not sustainable, and we will require further campaigns to boost customer demand across retail, leisure and real estate for many businesses to remain viable into 2021 and beyond.

With this in mind, last week we wrote to the Chancellor to impress on him the need for further business rates relief, as covered in The Times over the weekend.

We are urging businesses to write your own letters to Government to highlight the detrimental impact that a reintroduction of business rates in April 2021 will have on West End businesses. All emails to Government to support this campaign should be sent to public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gov.uk With the heading “letter to the Chancellor, business rates”.

Our EU tax-free shopping campaign publically launched yesterday exclusively in the Financial Times, with the publication of our letter to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, with over 100 national businesses co-signing. Click below to read the full article. We estimate that offering EU citizens tax-free shopping in the UK post-Brexit would generate around £1.4 billion additional annual retail sales and a total of £2.1 billion for the wider tourist economy, supporting over 28,000 retail jobs. To find out more about how you can support this campaign, please contact our Head of Advocacy Paul Barnes at pauldavoutbarnes@gmail.com

Our district-wide recovery campaigns to boost consumer confidence and attract footfall back to the West End in the lead up and through to our peak period at Christmas are also now fully underway, and our package of promotions and activations, from our #MyWestEnd campaign through to the upcoming launches of our West End Club and West End Concierge apps, aim to encourage our London and UK domestic customers to return. To find out more about our campaigns, and how you can get involved, please contact the team at marketing@newwestend.com.

 Click below to read a full summary of our Covid-19 response work over the past few months, our forward programme to the end of this year, and some insightful polling data on return to the office forecasts, our customer trends and motivations to visit the West End in the period ahead.

Finally, while of course we are focussing on our immediate recovery, we are also looking ahead to what the next five years will bring. Following feedback from over 300 members in the past 12 months, we are pleased to share our 2021-2026 Outline Business Proposal for our renewal in April next year.

Our renewal mandate, which you can read below, outlines how we will deliver our shared vision with members and partners to make the West End’s International Centre the most diverse, sustainable and inspiring place to visit and do business.‎ Our mission is to create value for all our members, supporting sustainable growth.

Working with our members and partners, we will strive to return our district to £10bn annual turnover in our next term.

We will aim to speak with every single member over the next 6 months for a final round of consultation. But for now, please do get in touch and tell us what you think by emailing me at jace.tyrrell@newwestend.com.

The New West End team and I very much look forward to seeing you in the West End this September. Yours in Partnership,

jace-signature2-1

Jace Tyrrell
Chief Executive

Tue 1 September 2020