Bosses from retailers including Arcadia, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fenwick and Harrods have pledged to create 2,000 jobs in London if Sunday trading hours are extended.
It comes after the Treasury revealed last week that it is considering giving local authorities the power to extend trading hours for retailers.
Research from the New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers in London’s West End, found that an extra two hours of trading on a Sunday would boost central London businesses by £260m each year and provide more than 2,000 additional full-time retail jobs.
The study, carried out by research firm Volterra Partners, also reported that together with the launch of Crossrail, the potential extension of Sunday trading hours could lead to an almost 50% uplift in West End turnover, increasing from £8.8bn in 2014 to £16bn by 2025.
“This is a vital initiative to keep London’s reputation as a premium and exciting shopping destination,” said Sir Philip Green, owner of the Arcadia Group.
“We recognise there is an incredibly high level of expectation from customers in terms of retail theatre, exciting product and customer service when they travel into the West End and to Knightsbridge. The Crossrail, job creation and trading flexibility are all pivotal in future-proofing London against our global competitors.”
Mark Fenwick, chairman of Fenwick, said: “”The West End and Knightsbridge provide a vibrancy which people travel thousands of miles to experience.
“We welcome the arrival of Crossrail and the extended trading hours which will provide new employment opportunities for the heart of London’s shopping, leisure and entertainment.”
Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods, added: “It is in the nature of the retailers who work on some of the capital’s most iconic streets to use ambition to bring the best service to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock here every year.”
The New West End Company has also launched a manifesto called Charter for Growth alongside the jobs pledge, which includes calling for immediate action on air quality, a brave approach to new infrastructure and a planning system that advances the West End’s global competitiveness.