New West End Company, the agency charged with the improvement of London’s premier shopping district, has unveiled ambitious plans to help almost double sales in the area to £10bn by 2020.
Initiatives include attracting an additional 21 international flagship stores by 2012, when London will host the Olympics, cutting traffic during shopping hours on thoroughfares including Oxford Street by 40% by 2015 and the creation of fast and slow lanes for pedestrians.
A New West End Company spokesman said that since the body’s creation in 2000 it has spearheaded successes such as the reduction of smash-and-grab robberies by 61%, the opening of the UK’s first diagonal pedestrian crossing at Oxford Circus and the launch of traffic-free shopping days which have contributed to a retail sales rise of £500m over five years.
John Lewis managing director Andy Street welcomed the improvements. He said: “The most important thing about the New West End Company is that it has brought together all the interests – landowners, authorities and retailers – to speak with one voice. That’s got to be good for London when we’re competing internationally.”
London mayor Boris Johnson said: “Effective business improvement districts like this are critical to sustaining and growing the capital’s retail hubs.”
New West End Company chairman Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas said: “It is imperative that we sustain our momentum going forward, not just in key public realm investment projects but across the board in all our initiatives and lobbying.”