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London retail sales hold up

London retail sales rose 5.9% on a like-for-like basis in February outperforming the rest of the UK, which recorded a 1.8% fall in like-for-like sales over the month.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that central London footfall was hit by the snow in the first week of February but picked up later in the month, partly thanks overseas visitors taking advantage of the weak sterling against the strong euro. UK shoppers also boosted sales during the school half-term holiday week.

The BRC said that clothing and footwear sales in February had benefited from cold weather and extended discounts.

“London retailers benefited as the weak pound made shopping here more attractive for overseas visitors - especially those from eurozone countries. Half-term also helped. More families opted to stay at home this year rather than go on foreign holidays. “

Stephen Robertson, director general, British Retail Consortium

Over the three months ended February like-for-like retail sales in central London rose 3.5%, against a 1.4% decline across the UK as a whole.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Despite the recession and a poor start to February due to extreme snow, the capital’s retail sales outperformed the rest of the UK. London retailers benefited as the weak pound made shopping here more attractive for overseas visitors - especially those from eurozone countries. Half-term also helped. More families opted to stay at home this year rather than go on foreign holidays. Consumer confidence held up a bit better as London is proving slightly more resilient to recession than other parts of the UK.”

 

 

Readers' comments (1)

  • London was up 5.9% in February - we were up over 100% in the plus department in Harrods and now this year so far up 146%. Why - we are a niche producer of unique clothes that are not clones of every high street product. We also cater for a part of the market that is seriously underfed and a product that is all about real value rather than the rather nebulous value of high profile 'brand'. What has happened in recent years is that the commercial conglomerates have high-jacked the title 'designer collection' and no longer does it imply an individual designer company like ourselves - very small - we employ less than 10 people to produce the collection which is made- totally in this country- from basic white fabric with each and every garment individually created from the painting, pleating and printing by hand - through to the finished product. People are bored with shopping and finding the same products everywhere and their wardrobes are stuffed with cheap imported goods. AND the gloom expressed in the press exaccerbates the situation. When the pound is weak there is an up side in that exports and tourism increases - after a number of lean years of not supplying stores in America we are getting renewed interest - and they are coming into London to do their shopping which is great.
    Instead of the constant gloomy predictions it would be great if the press started putting the emphasis on the positive side of things as you have done in this feature. People will only start spending and celebrating when they feel happier about their futures - with the constant pressure being put on us by the news of the banks' mismanagement, the lack of control by the government, and the general despondency just feeds the disease and will drag us down into a pit more effectively than anything.
    What Anna Wintour said is absolutely right - things are changing dramatically - the internet, twitter, constant updates on the state of the economy - my what an exciting and challenging time!
    www.charles-patricia-lester.co.uk

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