Retail sales in central London in July were 6.2% higher than a year earlier, on a like-for-like basis. This was much weaker than the 12.9% in July 2007 but stronger than the 0.9% decline in the UK as whole. Retail footfall was slightly weaker than in June and in May, but remained above its year-earlier level. The usual summer increase in visits by Middle Eastern tourist shoppers helped sales, while the strong euro continued to attract Western Europeans.
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Clothing and footwear, homewares and other more discretionary items suffered in July. Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “London retailers continue to outperform their UK counterparts, buoyed in July by tourists, discounts and the central London economy holding up better than the rest of the country. But factors affecting other parts of the UK, such as falling house prices and the squeeze on incomes, are starting to impact on the capital, hitting sales of more expensive house-related goods.”
Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail, KPMG, said:”Central London has once again outperformed the rest of the UK, but by a lower margin that we have seen in the previous two months. There continues to be considerable variation in performance of individual retailers in the capital and significant swings in individual retailer performance on a week by week basis as they move into and out of promotional activity – highlighting how important such activity has now become in order to drive sales.”
The London Retail Sales Monitor (LRSM) measures changes in the actual value of retail sales from a sample of retailers. The Monitor measures the value of spending and hence does not adjust for price changes. If prices are rising, sales volumes will increase by less than sales values. In times of price deflation, sales volumes will increase by more than sales values. Retailers report the value of their sales for the current period and the equivalent period a year ago.
Central London includes the following areas: Oxford Street, New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, Soho, Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Kensington High Street and parts of Chelsea.
Image: Selfridges Oxford Street