January update from New West End Company

Dee Corsi

Chief Executive

Happy New Year!

Our festive trading period proved that the West End remains resilient, even as national economic pressures dampened domestic consumer spending. 

Increases in footfall underlined the enduring appeal of all that the West End has to offer, particularly at Christmas time, with key shopping days like Black Friday and Boxing Day experiencing significant uplifts which bring us close to 2019 levels of visitation. Nonetheless, increases in footfall were not matched by spending – despite international visitor spending increasing by 7% across the period, lower than expected domestic spending of -8% year-on-year acted as the primary drag on growth.

Whilst we remain on track to return to our historic £10 billion annual turnover by 2025, we cannot ignore this reality. Marked decreases in domestic spending are a particular cause for concern, but we know it is not just consumers feeling the squeeze – changes in the taxation environment, and an imminent increase to the national living wage will put an extra burden on retail and hospitality businesses too.

Against this backdrop, it is necessary to capitalise on any opportunity to inject growth back into the economy. We continue to lobby the Government to reintroduce tax-free shopping, as a simple and effective measure to incentivise international visitors – an undeniable driver of growth – to spend in the U.K. The return of tax-free shopping would not only boost spend from existing tourists, but simultaneously create a new visitor economy of 450 million E.U. residents who could shop tax-free in the U.K. for the first time. This would not just benefit London – much of the infrastructure to support this new visitor economy already exists, most notably our regional airports with established links to Continental Europe.

We are set to deliver our annual West End Retail Turnover Forecast at the start of February, where we will share in-depth analysis of the district’s trading performance, in addition to an expert assessment of shifting consumer behaviours which are driving the evolution of the district.

It is these evolving consumer needs which are shaping a much more diverse mix on street – from immersive retail and leisure, to an increasing number of head offices who have recently moved to the area. No matter their offering or purpose, each share an ambition to offer a “best-in-class” experience – the biggest breadth of amenities for workers, the highly personalised retail experience, the most captivating cultural moments.

Tying this all together is a vision for a best-in-class public realm – being brought to life by the Oxford Street Programme, the £90m scheme being jointly delivered by New West End Company and Westminster City Council. The Programme has now received the green light from members of the public following a summer consultation period, marking a milestone in the scheme’s progression. I had the pleasure of speaking to BBC London about the plans for the regeneration of the street, as well as the exciting transformation journey Oxford Street has been on in the last 12 months.

As we look ahead to our 2024/2025 cycle of annual business planning, it remains vital that we understand the priorities of you, our members, and develop our services accordingly. We can only do this with your feedback however, and by filling out our members survey we can ensure that continue to focus on your core business priorities. To complete the survey please click on the link in the section below.


The 2023 switch-on of Oxford Street's iconic lighting display, delivered in partnership with children’s charity, Starlight, and the support of Millie Bright, captain of the Lionesses and the Chelsea Football Club, was widely covered by press, receiving an incredible 391 pieces of national and international coverage (+22% vs 2022) across November and December. Highlights included segments on The One Show and BBC London, also well as coverage in the Evening Standard and the Independent

Black Friday set a positive tone for the festive period, with the weekend experiencing the first significant spike in footfall, driven primarily by savvy domestic shoppers. In a milestone for the district, footfall levels also reached pre-pandemic levels, with the Saturday after Black Friday in 2023 coming in marginally higher than the same day in 2019. New West End Company was featured in Black Friday coverage in Retail Week, City AM and the print edition of the Evening Standard.

On 27 December, we released our Boxing Day footfall figures, highlighting the critical importance of overseas shoppers, who were the primary drivers of a 5% uplift in footfall cross the district. Footfall growth was particularly pronounced on Bond Street, which saw an increase of 20% versus 2022, and 34% compared to 2019. This was covered widely by BBC Online, ITV News Online, Financial Times, Evening Standard, Mail Online, The Times, WWD and Drapers.

At the start of December, New West End Company partnered with Outernet, one of the U.K.’s leading visitor attractions, to screen Oxford Street’s first festive advert, showcasing the plethora of festive activities on offer in the West End. You can view the advert here.


With the Chinese government now allowing group tours to the U.K. to go ahead, we are committed to ensuring that the district is as attractive as it can be for this valuable demographic. To this end, we have now launched a bespoke WeChat channel for the West End, featuring information from members and suggested itineraries for visitors. Since the channel’s launch on 15 December, we have onboarded 40 West End brands, had 800k impressions and secured coverage in key titles including the Robb Report and Elle China.

‘Bond Street Journal’ – our new magazine, dedicated to everything Bond Street – launched over the festive period, to inspire and delight shoppers with gift guides and experiences suggestions. Now on its fourth issue, the magazine has also featured exclusive interviews with the likes of Stefano Canali, Brunello Cucinelli, and Matthew Goode.

In December, Dee Corsi joined Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to mark the milestone of four Elizabeth Line stations, including Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, receiving high-speed mobile coverage for the first time. Both Elizabeth Line stations in the West End now have high-speed 4G and 5G in the ticket halls, connecting corridors and Elizabeth Line platforms. Now the second busiest underground station in the country, Tottenham Court Road station has coverage throughout. Dee spoke to BBC London about the milestone, celebrating the fact that visitors to the West End can now enjoy the “uninterrupted connection that is a part of any visitor experience” before seamlessly jumping onto super-fast, free street Wi-Fi upon leaving the station.

In January, Dee Corsi was also featured in coverage of the Mayor of London's decision to freeze fares for 2024 which, alongside the announcement of off-peak Fridays, will accelerate the capital's growth. Speaking to media including The Telegraph and City AM, she commented: "In the last 18 months, the West End has benefited greatly from investments into transport infrastructure – most notably the opening of the Elizabeth Line. Of course, this infrastructure investment will only show returns if the public can afford to make use of it. We therefore welcome the Mayor’s decision to freeze fares for another year – a move which will benefit workers, shoppers and international visitors alike."

As part of our programme to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime transformation for Oxford Street, we held an dedicated update webinar for occupiers across the street to learn more about the progress which has been, next steps and to share any questions they may have. If you were not able to attend, but would like to watch the webinar back, please contact izzy.jacobs-coote@newwestend.com.


As part of the preparations for the Spring Budget, the Government issued a call for business representations, putting forward evidence-based suggestions for changes to, or introduction of, policies. We encouraged our members to use this as yet another avenue to call for the reinstatement of tax-free shopping, and submitted our own New West End Company representation urging the Treasury to scrap the ‘tourist tax’ without delay.

Our proprietary data remains a key lobbying tool; we leveraged our festive footfall and spend results to underline the importance of incentivising international visitors to spend, garnering coverage in City AM, Evening Standard and the print edition of The Daily Telegraph. This will be followed by the release of our Q4 2023 figures in early February, in addition to other targeted media moments in the run up to the Spring Budget.


During the critical festive trading period, we ran ‘Operation West End’ for the second year in a row. The Operation was a four-week programme of targeted security and cleansing activity from New West End Company teams, bolstered by additional resource provision from our partners at the Metropolitan Police Service, who see this as a flagship operation with a trusted partner. Highlights include 9 joint patrols with the Metropolitan Police Service and the deep cleaning of 11,461 square metres across the district.


The West End continues to be impacted by a large number of gatherings, protests and marches related to the Israel-Hamas war, and this is set to continue in the near-term. New West End Company’s Operations team remains in close contact with the Metropolitan Police Service, and continues to respond to new intelligence with resource uplifted as required. We have also submitted two business impact assessments directly to the Metropolitan Police Service, outlining the effect of the marches on the district, as well as measures which we feel could be implemented to mitigate any future impact.

In response to a recent spate of “Smash and Grab” style incidents, New West End Company's Operations team has uplifted night-time security resources for an extended period. We remain in close contact with the Metropolitan Police’s specialist teams, sharing intelligence and supporting targeted uplifts in police patrols in the area. Businesses in the area can also play a critical role in deterring future incidents by remaining vigilant to suspicious behaviour during the day and night, and ensuring their own security overnight security teams are briefed. Any incidents should be reported immediately to police via 999 or 101.

We continued to work with the Metropolitan Police Service on ‘Operation Krawatte’, which tackles offenders of acquisitive crime within the West End. As of December 2023, this has resulted in 130 arrests for theft-related offences, 233 intelligence reports submitted and £50,000 (approx. value) of personal property recovered. The Operation has now come to an end, although the Metropolitan Police Service remained engaged in proactive patrols to tackle shoplifting and anti-social behaviour across the district.


We were delighted to attend the Security and Fire Excellence Awards in December, where our security providers FGH Security were a finalist in the Contract Security Team of the Year. The accolade is a reflection of all the fantastic, and often behind-the-scenes, work that our Security teams do, working in partnership with our Operations team, the Metropolitan Police Service and you, our businesses.

It was a pleasure to host our very first West End Sustainability Showcase on 19 January, in partnership with our sponsors Veolia and Westminster City Council’s Climate Emergency Team. Attendees had the opportunity to engage with a number of wonderful exhibitors from across the district including LUSH, Nike, The Crown Estate, Rituals, The Langham, Bioregional, Veolia and Planet Mark, all showcasing best practice sustainability case studies from across the the West End. A big thank you to our speakers James Mason, Sustainability and Portfolio Manager at Veolia, Councillor Ryan Jude, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology and Culture, and The Langham for hosting the event.




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.