West End delivers boost for London sales growth

LONDON retail sales in September had their strongest growth since August last year due to a wave of renewed consumer confidence, according to figures out today from the London Retail Consortium.<br /><br />Retail sales in central London were 7.5 per cent higher on a like-for-like basis in September than a year ago, when sales nosedived to 0.2 per cent higher than the previous year as financial turmoil battered confidence, especially in the City.<br /><br />&nbsp;UK consumer confidence has picked up in September, as industry figures added have spoken with greater belief.<br /><br />The boost in confidence, coupled with high demand for new season fashions and more overseas visitors, was felt more acutely in London than the rest of the UK. This meant London retail sales outstripped the UK as a whole, where like-for-like sales rose by just 2.8 per cent year-on-year.<br /><br />BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: &ldquo;These results offer retailers a glimpse of optimism in the all important run-up to Christmas. But consumer confidence is volatile and could easily slip back.&rdquo;<br /><br />The weak pound has also meant that the luxury retail market is being boosted by overseas visitors who are taking advantage of the currency&rsquo;s weakness.<br /><br />Figures out by the New West End Company today show a 346 per cent jump in purchases from Russian shoppers, who spend an average &pound;2,831 per head a year in the West End.<br /><br />West End retailers reported that luxury and mid-market fashion items are leading the increase &ndash; echoing Burberry&rsquo;s recent trading update reporting which smashed forecasts. Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street have all reported a 25 per cent sales jump month-on-month in September.