The West End has enjoyed a strong start to 2023, with January spend outperforming pre-pandemic levels. This marked the first time that international visitors drove monthly spending that was higher than 2019.
February update from New West End Company
One year on from the lifting of COVID restrictions, we have numerous reasons to be optimistic. Footfall continues to grow across the district, with more international visitors returning to our streets, however we must ensure that we make the most of the opportunities coming up.
We continue to lobby for the reintroduction of tax-free shopping – a subject which I spoke about recently on BBC Politics London – with higher numbers of overseas shoppers heading to European cities such as Paris and Milan. Ahead of the Chancellor's Spring Budget next month, we must continue to push for growth measures that will allow all businesses in the West End to build on their recovery and enter a period of growth. Our latest budget submission called for stores in London's two International Centres to be exempt from Sunday trading restraints.
We have seen a busy start to the year, with a number of events already taking place. Following the success of our Energy Business Briefing Webinar in January, we hosted our Annual Insights Retail Breakfast Briefing on the 8th of February. Delivered in partnership with PwC, it provided a detailed analysis of the Christmas trading period, together with a look ahead to trends and priorities for 2023.
Tomorrow will see the publication of our Annual West End Retail Turnover Report, giving further insight into the West End's performance over the past year. It is not too late to sign up to the webinar we are hosting with Collier's to launch the Report. Please see below our upcoming events section for more information and the link to join.
Using all of these key insights, we can inform our future plans and ensure that we deliver a West End that appeals to the modern, global consumer.
Finally, I would like to share some team news. I am delighted to announce that Lucy Mitchell has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of New West End Company. Lucy has been with us for 4 years and during this time has gained a thorough understanding of each part of the business. She has worked across Marketing and Insights, where she plays an instrumental role in driving forward our PwC Insights Programme, and most recently she has taken on Membership and Sustainability within her remit. This now completes our senior leadership recruitment process and we look forward to working passionately to deliver on our commitments with renewed vigour.
INSIGHTS RETAIL BREAKFAST BRIEFING
Earlier this month we hosted a special breakfast briefing for our members with an expert panel of speakers from PwC, who gave us some exclusive insights from the festive trading period and a detailed look at the consumer outlook for the West End in the coming months.
For the session we were joined by PwC retail experts, Lisa Hooker, Jacqueline Windsor and Megan Higgins who provided in-depth expert analysis on the key themes emerging from the Christmas 2022 trading results, as well as a look at consumer outlooks and spending priorities for 2023.
To find out more about New West End Company's Insights Programme and sign up your business contact the team here.
BUSINESS OF RECYCLING
In partnership with Westminster City Council and WRAP – the Global Sustainability Charity – we launched a pilot business support programme to inform and prepare businesses for the new business recycling regulations.
The programme aims to promote the benefits of recycling amongst businesses, whilst providing support in the form of dedicated Business Advisors to help our members through the process.
The pilot programme is now live and runs until 21 April 2023.
Join us tomorrow (1st March) for our Annual West End Retail Turnover Forecast Webinar, in partnership with Colliers' Retail Strategy & Analytics team.
In this session, we will provide analysis of retail and leisure turnover in 2022, whilst also looking ahead to a 10-year forecast of West End performance.