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West End footfall growth slows in March

Footfall increases in London's West End slowed last month as exchange rates hit US tourists.

The New West End Company said that footfall rose 4.3% in March and defied the national drop in high street footfall, which was down 8.2%.

However, chief executive Richard Dickinson said that the rise represented a slowdown: "Although March footfall was up 4.3% year-on-year, this marks a slowdown when compared to over 5% in January and February. The West End is undoubtedly benefiting form international tourists with retailers reporting a boost in Russian and Middle Eastern shoppers with a healthy appetite for luxury purchases. The unfavourable exchange rate has however meant a noticeable drop in American shoppers and in the light of tough trading conditions at home, the board recently agreed a significant increase in marketing activity."

The London Retail Consortium also said that retail sales in central London in March rose 2% like-for-like on the previous year, which outperformed the rest of the UK, which showed a 1.6% drop.

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