February update from New West End Company

Dee Corsi

Chief Executive

Like many of you, New West End Company is in the midst of our annual cycle of business planning, looking ahead to how we can continue to deliver for our members in 2024/2025.

To enable us to do so effectively, it remains vital that we understand the priorities of our members, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to fill out our members survey, providing us with valuable feedback, earlier this month. I am happy to say that we continue to be highly ranked across all our services, and we will strive to maintain results over the course of the next twelve months.

It is also the time of year when we present you with the West End’s own ‘review’ in the form of our annual West End Retail Turnover Report. The report found that, despite the continued presence of challenging economic headwinds across 2023, the district was resilient and we remain on track to exceed £10 billion annual turnover by end of the BID term 2025/2026.

This resilience is only possible due to the continued evolution of the district, as businesses respond, at pace, to the shifts in consumer behaviours, and the continued investment into a high-quality built environment and public realm provision, of which the £90 million Oxford Street Programme is a critical component.

Fresh analysis from our Insights team has shed light on the potential return on this investment, with cumulative additional sales of up to £2.8 billion on Oxford Street alone forecast between 2027 and 2033. This data is part of the research informing our upcoming report, Oxford Street: 2030, which is due to launch at MIPIM and outlines a future vision for the high street.

The report is a critical strand of our wider programme to shift the narrative on Oxford Street, both domestically and internationally. To this end, earlier this month I spoke at length with Al Arabiyah, a leading broadcaster in the Middle East, about the world-class experience visitors from the Gulf could expect when they next visit Oxford Street and the West End.

We welcomed the news earlier this month that the Chancellor had instructed the OBR to review the impact of losing tax-free shopping – it is an important acknowledgement, at the highest levels, that our tireless campaigning, both in the media and in Westminster, is being heard. We have remained in constant dialogue with the Treasury on this matter, and have responded to concerns they have raised about the potential value of the new E.U. visitor economy with real West End data.

We have also worked closely with the Association of International Retail, and other regional BID leaders to make clear that the reinstatement of tax-free shopping would not just benefit the West End but would have a positive halo effect across the entire nation, with regional airports, cultural hubs and supply chains set to reap the rewards as well.

Like many, we are now looking to the Spring Budget and hope that the Chancellor’s decision reflects the reality that I know many of you are facing.


In February, we met with the Department for Levelling Up, who were keen to understand the potential value of extending tax-free shopping to 450 million E.U. residents, in what would, in effect, be a net new tourism market for the U.K. Dee Corsi attended this meeting in her capacity as both Chief Executive of New West End Company and Chair of the Association of International Retail.

We also met, once again, with new Treasury officials responsible for tax-free shopping policy who also underlined their interest in understanding the value of incoming E.U. visitors to the UK should tax-free shopping be reinstated. NWEC has now responded to this query with a breakdown of the value of this market, leveraging West End data to illustrate the value of E.U. visitors to the district.

On 20 February, Dee Corsi attended a private dinner with the Chinese Ambassador to the U.K., alongside other business leaders from across London. She asserted just how valued the Chinese visitor audience is to West End businesses, and highlighted the various initiatives we have in play to ensure that the district – and London – remains an attractive, must-see destination.

Our proprietary data remains a key lobbying tool; in January 2024 we leveraged both our festive footfall and spend results, and our Q4 2023 data to underline the importance of incentivising international visitors to spend. Notable pieces of coverage were secured in The Times and Evening Standard.

We continue to leverage every opportunity available to us to lobby for the reinstatement of tax-free shopping; an interview with Dee Corsi featured in an in-depth segment on the issue, shown during ITV News’ 6pm show. Dee Corsi also penned an op-ed in City A.M., coinciding with London Fashion Week, underlining the impact that the policy was having on British retailers, who are currently competing on an uneven playing field.


We have now rolled out upgrades to our West End Club loyalty app, driving the onboarding of 3.5k (net) new users. For end users, this will facilitate more seamless access to exclusive offers and experiences, whilst for participating brands, this will give them access to more granular data through which they can shape and tailor bespoke experiences for workers across the district.


The West End continues to be impacted by a large number of gatherings, protests and marches related to the Isael-Hamas war, and this is set to continue in the near-term. To this end, we remain in close contact with the Metropolitan Police Service to coordinate resource uplift as required. We have also submitted a third impact assessment directly to the Metropolitan Police Service, now including specific impact data provided by a handful of member businesses. Should you wish to share your own impact data with us, to be included in any future impact assessments, please contact Jamie Conroy, Security and Operations Manager, on jamie.conroy@newwestend.com


We are set to launch our latest report, Oxford Street: 2030, at MIPIM. The report convenes leading voices from across retail, placemaking and property to discuss the once-in-a-generation transformation taking place on Oxford Street. It will also provide an in-depth analysis of how shifts in consumer expectations and the macroeconomic environment have necessitated a reappraisal of British retail.

In advance of this launch, we released fresh analysis about the potential value of the Oxford Street Programme to businesses on the street. The analysis found that the £90 million programme, will drive between 5% - 10% in annual sales growth for Oxford Street alone, amounting to an additional cumulative benefit of up to £2.8bn in sales to the West End between 2027 – 2033. This news was covered extensively in international and national media, including Drapers online and in print in the Evening Standard.

Our 2023 West End Turnover Report is now live, and available to members via our dedicated members portal. Taking into account the prevailing economic headwinds, we have adjusted our West End performance forecast marginally, at -1% vs. our previous projection. Despite this re-forecast, the West End remains on track to exceed £10 billion annual turnover by the financial year 2025/2026.

For the first time, the report also includes detailed catchment analysis, featuring an in-depth assessment of visitor behaviour patterns and therefore the draw of trade across different areas and seasons. Click here to access both reports.


On 7 March, we will share an exclusive first look at how the Oxford Street Programme designs have progressed following last summer’s public consultation. The event, co-hosted by Westminster City Council, will provide attendees with the opportunity to view some of the proposed footway materials and street furniture in person, as well as a dedicated Q&A segment with the project teams. To find out more about the event, please contact Izzy Jacobs-Coote, Corporate Events and Digital Marketing Manager, at izzy.jacobs-coote@newwestend.com

New West End Company will be attending MIPIM, and we would love to connect with those from across our district who are also going. If you or a member of your team is planning to be attendance, please contact Izzy Jacobs-Coote, Corporate Events and Digital Marketing Manager, at izzy.jacobs-coote@newwestend.com, so we can sure you receive an invitation to relevant New West End Company events.