West End landlord Shaftesbury has signed over 60 new retail and leisure brands since October 2020, in a vote of confidence for central London’s post-lockdown recovery
Bosses said this interest highlights the speed of the West End’s recovery following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
Some 33 retail brands including American Eagle and Aerie have set up shop in areas including Carnaby, Seven Dials, Chinatown, Soho and Fitzrovia. Many of the new brands are overseas brands making their UK debuts.
What’s more, 29 new hospitality brands have opened including Anita’s, a gelato concept from Israel on Upper St Martin’s Lane, and Japanese robata concept Yatay in Chinatown.
Samantha Bain-Mollison, retail director, said: “The level and quality of demand for space from such great brands and concepts reflects the strength of our portfolio and speed of its recovery following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
“The 33 new retailers to have signed this year have added something different to our villages, reinforcing their positions as exciting West End shopping destinations and contributing to London’s status as a global city for retail.”
Julia Wilkinson, restaurant director, added: “The hospitality sector has demonstrated its creativity and energy as it emerges from the pandemic. As tough as it has been, the sector has turned a corner, which is wonderful to see.”
However, it has not been smooth sailing for the shopping and theatre district.
Business group New West End Company said today that footfall remains down 30 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in the last week.
It blamed the government’s messaging around the Omicron coronavirus variant and recent tube strikes for causing flat footfall week-on-week last week.
However, the group said it was encouraged to see strong Saturday figures, with footfall up 23 per cent week on week. It said this was “a strong sign” visitor numbers would start to increase this week in the run-up to Christmas.