West End shop sales soar ahead, defying post Christmas slump

LONDON’S West End stores have seen strong growth in sales in January, despite the rise in VAT and sluggish wage growth, it was revealed today.

Retail sales were up 5.8 per cent compared to the same time last year, the New West End Company said.

An increase in menswear was particularly notable, it said, reporting a 25 per cent increase in sales of men’s suits from high-end tailor Brooks Brothers.

“January trading was boosted by those perennial big-spenders – shoppers looking for luxury items and also domestic shoppers kitting themselves out for a new year of work,” said Jace Tyrell of the New West End Company.

“London is definitely spending again this January.”

Retail sales across the country increased by 4.2 per cent in January, the British Retail Consortium said last week.

Yet sales at John Lewis, often used as a bellwether for the high street, appear to have stagnated, after a record-breaking December. Sales at the store in the week ending 5 February were up only 1.2 per cent year on year.