Happy Easter for West End

POOR weather and early spring sales offers from retailers drove at least 2m shoppers to the West End over the Bank holiday weekend.

Some retailers are understood to have recorded double-digit sales growth on the Friday, although trading did slow down over Saturday and Easter Monday, according to the New West End Company – which represents retailers on Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street.

Once again tourists were encouraged to part with their cash thanks to the weakness of the pound.

“Poor weather on Friday drove visitors to the Capital into West End stores, which were only too glad to pay host to the tourists, many of whom were domestic shoppers from all over the UK who decided to stay on UK soil as the pound continues to be weak against the Euro and the dollar,” said Jace Tyrrell, spokesperson for New West End Company.

Fortnum & Mason, the iconic London department store, said its sales increased by 23 per cent from the same period last year.

Beverley Aspinall, managing director, of the store said, “Easter is always Fortnum’s second biggest peak in the calendar, but this year has been especially busy.”

Many stores implemented sales early in order to attract consumers before the uncertainty of the election. Discounts were as large as 70 per cent across, fashion, food and furniture outlets.

Retailers fear that consumer confidence will tail off before the general election and according to ING Direct household savings as a proportion of disposable income fell in the fourth quarter last year leaving them in a vulnerable situation to deal with future pressures on income.