Research suggests things are looking up and cautious optimism is the way forward for the all-important Christmas trading period. WGSN Senior Editor Petah Marian reports
OK, it’s a bit early to break out the Christmas Champagne, but the signs are looking good. The upcoming Holiday season could shape up to be the best for UK retailers, and central London retailers specifically, since the financial crisis, according to the New West End Company (NWEC).
London’s main shopping streets – Oxford, Bond and Regent – are expected to hit record sales of £2.3bn over the six-week period, it predicts, pointing to higher incomes and lower prices helping boost consumer confidence ahead of the all-important trading period.
A dip in Chinese and Russian shoppers is also being offset by a record number of Americans taking advantage of the strong dollar, it noted.
Christmas falling on a Friday is also expected to help stores.
“This Christmas is likely to be the best for retailers since 2007, and the West End – as the UK’s principal retail hub – will be the main beneficiary,” Jonathan de Mello, head of retail at Harper Dennis Hobbs, which compiled the figures for the NWEC, told City AM.
Meanwhile, KPMG’s head of retail David McCorquodale also gave an upbeat outlook for UK retailers.
“Generally, the economy is in a better place that it has been for the last six years. We have had wage inflation so people have more disposable incomes. And although we are not seeing that through tills on a month-by-month basis, there has been an improvement,” he also told City AM.
McCorquodale also said he also expected Black Friday to be “more sophisticated” after the popularity of the US-imported bargain day took retailers by surprise last year and left many stores unable to cope with demand.
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