It certainly has been a busy few weeks for me since taking over the helm as interim CEO last month, and as we enter our peak trading period and gear up for Christmas, it doesn't look like it will be quietening down any time soon!
Company Update - October 2022
It was fantastic to be back at the London Real Estate Forum and the NLA's new conference, Opportunity London, last month where I joined key London partners to discuss the activation of the Central Activity Zone and the future of our high streets. This was a brilliant forum to further discuss our latest data on our West End recovery. Launched earlier this week in City AM & the Financial Times, our Mid-Year Turnover Forecast Update (which you can explore further in the section below) has shown that we remain on track to recover to our historic £10 billion annual turnover by 2025, despite the setbacks businesses across the West End have had to deal with this year.
Of course, a significant part of our turnover growth is being driven by the opening of the Elizabeth Line. Our Elizabeth Line Impact Report has shown that the line is expected to lead to around a 7% boost in the West End’s annual performance, influencing between £700m and £800m a year in additional sales by 2031.
We are still facing a number of challenges on our road to recovery however, and our national Government campaigning is being ramped up to ensure that we remain on track. Following our big win for the West End with the Chancellor's plans to re-introduce tax-free shopping, we are continuing to call on Government to move quickly to get the new, digitalised system in place by the Kings Coronation, to fully take advantage of the huge surge in inbound tourism. We wrote to the Mayor of London who is also supportive of this issue. This decision was a huge step in the right direction in levelling the playing field between us and other retail destinations, such as Paris and Milan, and we must seize the opportunity as quickly as possible.
We are also asking Government to capitalise on the momentum with the relaxation of Sunday trading hours, to ensure we make London the most attractive destination for domestic and international visitors alike. We have an eager international audience with cash to spend waiting in the wings – we now simply have to ensure that we’re open for business at the right times.
I was delighted to push our key policy asks at both the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, where I met with key London partners and stakeholders to advocate London's West End. At the Labour Conference, I was particularly delighted to win support from Mayor Sadiq Khan for our proposal to restore tax-free shopping quickly, while at the Conservative Conference myself and our interim Director of Communications hosted 20 industry and political guests at the Association of International Retail lunch to discuss tax-free shopping and related measures.
Finally, we are full steam ahead with our Christmas planning, with less than a month to go before the Oxford Street lights are switched on on Wednesday 2 November. We are very conscious that this Christmas will be challenging for many due to the cost of living and energy crisis, however we do hope that our colleagues and customers will enjoy the festive cheer that our District does so well. You can explore our plans further in the section below.
I was delighted to speak at the launch of Westminster Works, the new recruitment service for Westminster's hospitality and leisure businesses. Around 120 Westminster business leaders attended the launch and over 300 job seekers visited the accompanying Westminster Works Jobs Fair.
As the BIDs for London's two International Centres, New West End Company and Knightsbridge Partnership were selected by Westminster City Council to design and deliver a new approach that will encourage more people to chose to work in the hospitality and leisure sectors and help businesses fill their vacancies.
The Westminster Works pledge of respect, reward and progression will be the mark of a good employer. Businesses that sign the pledge will be free to advertise their job vacancies and have full access to the services of a specialist recruitment team dedicated to promoting Westminster Works to job seekers across London. Businesses and workers can sign up to the scheme through the website by visiting https://westminster.works/.
Click here to watch the launch video where I was joined by the Mayor of London and the CEO of UKHospitality to showcase the new service.
Christmas Marketing & Operations Update
Last month we welcomed our marketing & frontliner members to hear from the team about our upcoming Christmas plans, including operational support for businesses and overviews of our upcoming on-street campaign - "It's The Love You Give" - on Oxford Street & our brand new lights scheme on Bond Street. Click here to find out more about our Christmas plans.
- To find out more about how to get involved with our campaigns, contact Hadas Kulcsar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To get more information on our operational support please contact Jamie Conroy at email@example.com.
- To find out more about The Crown Estate's Christmas plans on Regent Street, please contact Eleni Angelou at firstname.lastname@example.org or Harry Apostolakis at Harry.Apostolakis@thecrownestate.co.uk.
Mid-Year Turnover Forecast Update
Earlier this week we launched our Mid-Year Turnover Forecast Update with Colliers, which showed that London’s West End looks set to reach its historical annual turnover of £10 billion by 2025. Despite slowed recovery due to economic uncertainty, year-to-date sales are up 109% compared to 2021 and spend continues to outperform footfall.
We initially commissioned a report from Colliers in February of this year to explore how the West End was recovering post-pandemic. The latest data confirms that the district is still on track to hit turnover targets, a prediction that came before extra support was announced as part of the Chancellor’s September mini-budget.
Elizabeth Line Impact Report
A significant part of our turnover growth is being driven by the opening of the Elizabeth Line, which is expected to be the main mode of transport for 13% of visitors into the district by 2023.
Our Elizabeth Line Impact report, launched this week ahead of the Bond Street Station opening later this month, has predicted that increased visitor numbers from the new lines will lead to around a 7% boost in the West End’s annual performance by 2031, influencing between £700m and £800m a year (or between £5 billion and £7 billion cumulatively by 2031) in additional sales.