Earlier this month we announced that the West End is on track to return to its historic annual turnover of £10 billion by the end of 2025, despite the economic uncertainty of the last quarter.
March update from New West End Company
Our report with Colliers revealed that sales are up 56% compared to those in 2021, as spend continues to outperform footfall, with our visitors spending more per visit.
This sense of optimism was also on display at this month’s MIPIM Real Estate Conference in Cannes, with delegates from around the world on hand to consider and debate the latest challenges and opportunities facing high streets globally. Highlights from a West End perspective, included a fascinating session on the capital’s sustainability journey and a lively discussion on the need to drive more infrastructure development.
It truly was a month of coming together, as we co-hosted the Property Week Editor’s Dinner with James Andrew International, bringing together a cross section of industry leaders from across UK property to discuss the state of the sector, from the future of retail to meeting next zero targets. The need for collaboration and cohesion across the sector was a common thread throughout the many conversations and debates, As ever, it was a fascinating evening, with ideas and future opportunities fuelling our conversations in Cannes the following week.
It was also a month to celebrate the fantastic Women of the West End, with International Women’s Day taking place on the 8th of March. We took the opportunity to shine a light on the wonderful female members of our Place Management Team, who work tirelessly to ensure that the West End’s streets are clean, safe and healthy.
As a member of the British Retail Consortium, we supported its draft response to the Labour Party 2023 National Policy Forum’s Consultation on “Better Jobs and Better Work, A Green and Digital Future and Safe and Secure Communities” - setting out its recommendations on key policy issues such as business rates. Separately - alongside the Association of International Retail - we have been briefing the Labour Party on tax-free shopping, and the economic value its reintroduction would bring to the UK’s retail sector.
As part of our ongoing advocacy work supporting the removal of Sunday trading laws in the West End, I shared an opinion piece with the Evening Standard - and was quoted in City AM - explaining how extended opening hours would help retailers embrace the demands of post-pandemic consumers and supercharge the West End’s recovery.
Looking ahead, we are set to enter a new BID year – the third of our term – next month. As we emerge strongly from the pandemic, we are faced with a new high street environment; one that presents both opportunities and challenges for us to collectively overcome. Given the emergence of this new environment, we have been busy developing a Refreshed Business Plan to best prepare our district for the challenges ahead. Having presented these to our Steering Groups, we will be launching our vision at an event on the 26th of April 2023, see below for more details.
We have every reason to be optimistic as we head into another exciting BID year, with the opportunity to deliver an era of growth and prosperity for the entire West End.
WEST END RETAIL TURNOVER FORECAST
At the beginning of the month, we hosted our Annual Briefing with Colliers' Retail Strategy & Analytics team to launch our latest West End Retail Turnover Forecast.
The report revealed that, despite the anticipation that recovery will slow over the next two years, the West End remains on track to achieve £10 billion of turnover by 2025, with year-to-date sales up by 9% compared to pre-pandemic volumes.
To read more about the report, take a look at this article in the Evening Standard or click the image below to watch the webinar in full.
To access the full report click here.
Earlier this month we headed to Cannes to attend MIPIM 2023 – the Annual Global Real Estate Conference.
Alongside a host of networking events, there was a series of fascinating sessions, including Financing London's Decarbonisation, Driving Infrastructure Investment and Reaching Net Zero in Global Cities.
The Chancellor's Spring Budget on the 15th of March 2023, sadly included few announcements that will have a direct impact on West End businesses.
We were disappointed that our proposed reintroduction of tax-free shopping and a relaxation of Sunday trading laws in London's International Centres were not included, but we remain undeterred and will campaign tirelessly to maximise the number of international visitors returning to the district.
SECURITY ENGAGEMENT DAY
On Wednesday 22nd March 2023, we hosted a Security Engagement Day where over 20 of our member businesses joined the New West End Company team, FGH Security and Safer Business Network team members to discuss security concerns for the district and their businesses.
The drop-in day was a great success and provided our team with invaluable insight into the shared security concerns amongst our members and a greater understanding of how we can support the businesses within our district.
We will now be hosting these sessions bi-annually with the next drop-in day scheduled for the autumn. If you or your business would like to attend the next session, please contact Jamie Conroy at email@example.com.
MARKETING LOOK AHEAD & SUMMER CAMPAIGNS UPDATE
On Thursday we hosted a special webinar that focused on our 2023/24 West End Marketing Plans. At the session, we unveiled our Annual Marketing Programme and presented our upcoming summer campaigns, including coronation plans across Oxford Street and Bond Street. As well as details on Art in Mayfair plans and showcased how businesses can get involved in our West End wide loyalty programme the West End Club.
Please share with us your coronation plans by contacting the team here.
Click image below to watch the webinar in full. To view the presentation slides from the webinar please click here.
Westminster City Council have launched their Fairer Westminster delivery plan which outlines the Council's vision for building a city that supports and celebrates all of its communities. The Fairer Westminster strategy focuses on working with the community to create a more inclusive Westminster, where residents are at the heart of the decision-making. The delivery plan is made up of five key ambitions:
- Fairer Communities - Making Westminster a healthier and equitable place for all residents
- Fairer Housing - Increasing affordable housing and making sure tenants and lessees are satisfied
- Fairer Economy - Building a strong, diverse and growing economy that benefits all
residents and businesses
- Fairer Environment - Working to become a net zero council by 2030, and a net zero city
- Fairer Council - Having the council become more transparent and visible to its residents.
Click here to read more about their vision and how you can get involved.