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West End rallies despite Black Friday terror scare

London’s West End has seen footfall creep up over the Black Friday weekend despite false reports of a terror incident at Oxford Circus tube station on Friday afternoon.

Footfall in the area dropped by 12% year-on-year during Black Friday (24 November), after an altercation sparked mass panic among visitors.

Armed police forces were deployed, while a section of the area was evacuated.

However, ahead of the police reports, footfall in the area until 4pm was up 4.5% on the same time last year. 

Footfall edged up 1% on Saturday 25 November and Sunday 26 November, amounting to more than one million visitors.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive at New West End Company, said: “It was a relief that the activity at Oxford Circus on Friday was a false alarm with no serious injuries. Whilst it did impact numbers on Friday evening, the resilience of the West End has really shone through as footfall was recorded at over one million during the weekend.”

New West End Company added that it is responding to the “lessons” of Friday evening and exploring how the district will respond to similar events in future.

Tyrrell added: “Keeping visitors safe is our upmost priority and the events of Friday afternoon demonstrate how quickly and efficiently the police respond to protect the public and staff. We are in conversations with the borough commander and deputy mayor for policing to review our planning, systems and responses to ensure lessons are learnt.”

Retailers in London’s West End expect a strong Christmas trading period, with store sales in the six weeks to Christmas forecasted to rise by 1.5% to £2.61bn.

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