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Happy Brexit Christmas for London's West End?

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - 01:46

Retailers in London's famous West End shopping district expect bumper Christmas sales this year. But is the UK high street really Brexit proof - or could this be their last 'Merry Christmas' for some time? Ross Miklaszewicz reports

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No sign of Brexit doom and gloom here. Just blue skies and smiling faces outside one of the world's most famous toy stores. In London's West End shopping district, after a year of uncertainty, they're expecting tills to ring louder than ever. Sales forecast to rise by 1.6% - sending 2.3 billion pounds through the tills this year. SOUNDBITE (English) JACE TYRELL, CEO, WEST END COMPANY, SAYING: "I think equally the pound dropping - it's more expensive to go overseas and we do see a lot of our UK customers come to central London and the West End over Christmas with things like the Christmas lights whether it's Bond, Oxford or Regent Street. A lot of our UK shoppers like to come and experience that." Footfall is expected to decline - by over three per cent as consumers change habits - many going online. It can take more than festive windows and Christmas lights to get shoppers out. SOUNDBITE (English) JACE TYRELL, CEO, WEST END COMPANY, SAYING: "Retailers are really more savvy now in attracting customers into the store so you know lots of customer service experiences. John lewis doing a wonderful roof garden up there at the biggest Christmas store. But equally click and collect is really a new trend that we're seeing now." But Brexit's blamed for lacklustre consumer sentiment and rising prices .... So - are London shoppers planning to cut back? SOUNDBITE (English) SHOPPER, SAYING: "Probably not, I don't have very many people to buy for so i'll probably do about the same." SOUNDBITE (English) SHOPPER, SAYING: "Well i think we still don't know the effects of Brexiting but i guess Christmas spirits take over and we end up spending more than we in to most years. i don't think this year will be any different." A bumper Christmas in store this year perhaps ... But retailers looking ahead to 2017 nervously. Hoping this won't be their last happy Christmas for some time to come.

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Happy Brexit Christmas for London's West End?

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - 01:46