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West End retailers predict record-breaking Black Friday

Retailers in London’s West End are preparing for record spending tomorrow, boosted by overseas shoppers taking advantage of the post-Brexit weakness of sterling.

The New West End Company, which represents retailers and landlords in the West End, is anticipating a 5% increase in sales on Black Friday compared with last year’s November discount day. It predicts total sales of £115.5m on 25 November – equivalent to 1.25% of total annual sales for West End retailers.

Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis are among those offering discounts on Oxford Street.

Following the vote in June to leave the European Union, New West End Company has reported that international tourist spend in London has increased 44%, which has boosted West End retailers. Domestic spend is also expected to increase over the Black Friday weekend, kicking off the Christmas season.

Despite the positive predictions Steven Medway, managing director of trading environment at New West End Company, warned retailers were set for difficult times in 2017: “Future challenges, including further Brexit uncertainty and the prospect of business rates revaluation in April 2017, which will force West End businesses to pay an additional £125m a year in taxes, suggest a tough year ahead for retail trading.”

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