West End retailers prepare for bumper sales this Christmas, but expect a fall in footfall

 
Helen Cahill
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More shoppers are choosing to buy their Christmas gifts online (Source: Getty)

The West End is preparing for a bumper Christmas as retailers in the district expect to bring in £2.61bn in sales this year.

The figures, from the New West End Company, represent a 1.5 per cent rise on last year's takings over the crucial shopping period.

However, footfall is expected to drop by as much as 3.2 per cent as more consumers intend to spend their money online.

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Katarina Mercury, retail asset manager for Regent Street at the Crown Estate, said the street's traffic-free hours will be extended to 9pm to give shoppers more space to visit stores.

And retailers will employ an extra 4,700 staff to deal with the extra seasonal demand.

"This Christmas is difficult to predict as we have seen some caution amongst domestic shoppers in the first half of the year, mainly around big-ticket items such as carpets or fitted kitchens," said Karen Lord, head of branch at John Lewis’s Oxford Street store.

However, she said that shoppers could be saving so they are able to "pull out all the stops" for Christmas.

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