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London Fashion Week’s Soho move will give retailers major sales boost

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London Fashion Week organisers say moving the event to Soho will make it more accessible and “bring a buzz” to the area while surrounding retailers expect to see a major boost to footfall and sales.

The British Fashion Council has moved LFW to the Brewer Street Car Park from Somerset House, its home for the past five years.

Caroline Rush, the BFC’s chief executive, told the London Evening Standard: “The BFC wanted fashion week to be closer to retail and in the heart of the West End. Soho is seen as the creative and fashion centre of London, so it fits.

“Fashion Week can be seen by some as an industry-focused event for the elite. But more and more its focus is the consumer.”

Rush said LFW would also help bring a buzz back to Soho amid campaigners’ claims that the area’s artistic integrity is under threat from developers.

“When we moved to Somerset House, Covent Garden was going through a transitional time and we were seen as one of the factors that really made it come alive,” she said.

From Friday the car park is due to host 78 designers including Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Kane, as well as some of the 52 catwalk shows and 26 presentations taking place during the five-day event.

“I hope that will be the case too with Soho and our presence will bring some buzz and excitement. It will be great for business too.”

Shaftesbury, which manages the Carnaby area in Soho, predicted footfall could be up by 30% over the event. The Regent Street Association (RSA) said, based on footfall of 1.34m at this time last year, they expected a 10% increase.

Annie Walker, director of the RSA, said: “We predict the change of venue for London Fashion Week will have a positive effect on the number of visitors to the shops, bars and restaurants as well as a higher occupancy in Regent Street’s leading hotels.”

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