New West Company End Company has called on the Government for continued support to help the area as post-pandemic trade rebuilds.
The company wrote to business minister Kwasi Kwarteng earlier this spring to ask for the West End and Knightsbridge international centres to be added to the list of exemptions in the 1994 Sunday Trading Act.
It has reiterated those calls after international travel rules were changed on Monday (2 August) so that travellers double-jabbed in the European Union and United States no longer have to isolate on arrival in the UK from an amber list country.
Chief executive Jace Tyrrell said many businesses in the area had been “desperately missing the trade that overseas tourists bring” and the change to isolation rules would “give the area a much-needed boost, driving footfall and spend back to the nation’s high street.”
He added: “However, to take full advantage of this opportunity to recover and rebuild, the West End requires continued support. Such world-class retail and leisure destinations rely heavily on overseas visitors and their spending to maintain appeal for global brands.
“This is why we have written to the government to ask for an extension of Sunday trading hours in London’s two international centres – the West End and Knightsbridge – allowing overseas visitors to make the most of the Capital’s unrivalled retail experience as they return.”
“This [extending trading hours] is needed, not for short term Covid-19 reasons in 2021, but as part of the longer-term Covid-19 recovery and growth plans as international visitors start to return from 2022,” the company told ministers in April.
The partnership, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford St, Bond St, Regent St and in Mayfair, said extending opening hours would help to accommodate the estimated 60m extra visitors expected in the district when the Elizabeth line opens in 2022.