...as bank holiday gives shops in the West End a huge boost

TWO strong bank holidays helped push up West End retail sales 5.8 per cent year-on-year in May, according to the New West End Company, which represents vendors in the area.

Despite a rainy Saturday, shoppers spent £38m on Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street on Monday 31 May alone. The number of people visiting the West End rose 26 per cent over the weekend as metropolitan consumers spent cash on clothes and goods.

The month’s trading numbers contrast with those seen across the rest of the country, where growth ticked up a meagre 0.8 per cent on average. According to a survey by research group GfK a fortnight ago, consumer confidence fell to a five-month low in May as families worried about the prospect of state spending cuts.

Richard Dickinson, chief executive of the New West End Company, said: “This gives a much-needed boost to retailers in London’s West End, with consumer confidence wobbling in the face of the potential onset of a Vat rise. With the additional blow of a weakening euro, the West End needs to continue to improve via increased investment in new stores and in the public realm.”