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Discounting helps West End fight back against Westfield London

London retail sales fell back 0.4% on a like for like basis in November, the third consecutive monthly fall, but footfall was slightly ahead of November 2007.

The British Retail Consortium said that while November footfall was initially affected by the opening of Westfield London on October 30 (Westfield London falls outside the area surveyed), shopper traffic in the West End had recovered later in the month thanks to the raft of pre-Christmas promotional activity. The New West End Company said that November footfall in the West End was up 5.9% year-on-year.

However like-for-like sales in central London between September and November were down 1%. UK like-for-like sales were down 2.1% over the same period.

The BRC added that despite further extensive discounting, clothing and footwear remained tough and that there was now some evidence of trading-down from top-end designer wear.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "The economic crisis is hitting confidence in London particularly hard. But the capital's retailers are responding with high-profile discount days and promotions on a scale I've never seen before at this time of year."

Robertson added: "Customers were always likely to leave it late, but there is still time for a pre-Christmas revival. London retailers in particular will be helped as the weaker pound makes the UK very attractive for overseas shoppers. VAT and interest rate cuts will also help."

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