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West End spend declined during festive season despite YoY footfall growth

By Rachel Douglass


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Oxford Street. Credits: Unsplash.

New figures by the New West End Company (NWEC) have reflected an increase in footfall in contrast to a decline in spending, yet the company cited the festive season’s performance as “resilient”.

Over the period, footfall was up 3 percent year-on-year, while spending decreased by 1 percent, driven by lower than expected domestic spending caused by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and high inflation.

Such spending in the area declined by 8 percent YoY throughout November and December, while international spending rose 7 percent over the same period.

In December, visitors to the West End district increased 5 percent, however overall spending only rose 2 percent YoY.

NWEC said the figures reflected predictions it had made in early November, when it further forecast that domestic spending would peak prior to Christmas Day on December 22, an outlook that ultimately came to be.

In a release, Dee Corsi, CEO of the company, highlighted the various setbacks in the UK market that led to such results – such as a costly end to business rates relief and slowed spending growth – while further calling on the government to reintroduce tax-free shopping to boost tourist spending.

Corsi continued: “This would have a marked positive impact on the entire tourist ecosystem across the UK, boosting inbound flights to regional airports, and supporting the retail and hospitality sectors nationally.

“Crucially, the infrastructure to support this EU visitor economy already exists and it is time we properly leveraged it. We would urge the government to grab the opportunity with both hands and reinstate tax-free shopping without delay.”

New West End Company