Businesses have seen many changes this year, with issues old and new affecting consumer and investor confidence across the UK. The continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the much-needed challenge to sustainable practices in retail and the ongoing pressures of sky-high business rates have presented testing conditions for retailers and hoteliers in particular to battle against.
Despite this, London’s West End has seen optimistic change on its iconic streets this year, with 6 traffic-free days, improved public realm and 80 retail and leisure openings contributing to a more positive trading environment in which we’ve welcomed over 193 million visitors so far this year. The Oxford Street District transformation plans are shifting up a gear with the launch of the enhancements to Ramillies Place on East Oxford Street, the first flagship project to be announced by Westminster City Council as part of its Oxford Street District proposals. This is part of the wider £2.9 million investment into the Oxford Street district by 2022. Find out more in our #OxfordSt2022 report and watch our video below.
In October, we celebrated 20 years of New West End Company, marking our work and acheivements together with our members and partners. As part of this, and in our ongoing role of promoting London’s West End as the number one choice for visitors, businesses and investors, we created the following video to showcase the evolution of the district and reveal the upcoming developments and opportunities that will cement our area as a world-leading retail and leisure district. Please do share the video with any colleagues who may be interested.
This year we have also launched New West End Economics, our brand new analytical unit to provide you with groundbreaking weekly, monthly and bi-annual insights into retail sales, physical footfall and detailed demographic characteristics of West End visitors and shoppers. I’d like to thank our participating members for your support in delivering this world-first programme.
And finally, with the festive period well underway, we unveiled our brand new Oxford Street Christmas Lights last month. The 27 light curtains, made up of 222,000 LED lights, have created an illuminated festive light display running down the street. Bond Street was once again dressed with its iconic peacock feather lights, with the new addition of 30 softly lit Christmas trees, while on Regent Street we worked with The Crown Estate to deliver the Spirit of Christmas lights switch on, with an exceptional show hosted by Heart presenters Jamie Theakston & Amanda Holden, with stunning performances from the cast of White Christmas, Maisie Peters and The Script. This was a monumental year for Regent Street as the famous location is celebrating its 200th anniversary.
We’ve forecast that the West End will welcome 42 million visitors across the festive season, with £2.5 billion of sales. We hope that you benefit from the seasonal increase in footfall and enjoy a successful Christmas. Find out more about how New West End Company can support you with marketing, operations and insights over the busy trading period. and enjoy a successful Christmas.
As we approach the end of the year, we wanted to reflect on some of the key work that we have achieved together. I would like to thank all our members and partners for your ongoing support, the Chairman and the board for your strategic counsel and guidance, and the remarkable team at New West End Company who deliver daily on your behalf. Please see below for highlights from this year in review.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a successful New Year, as we look forward to achieving more together in 2020.