Relentless London retail up again

13-11-2006

Relentless London retail up again
Retail sales in London were up 15.8 per cent in October on a like-for-like basis, the London Retail Consortium (LRC) has claimed.

But while the trade association describes last month's figures as "buoyant", they are in comparison to a capital still suffering from the effect of the July 7th terrorist bombings in 2005.

Last year, October's retail sales fell 3.1 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2004.

The LRC, a subdivision of the British Retail Consortium, also revealed that the number of shoppers in the capital was up six per cent compared to last year, while London continued to attract more overseas visitors from Europe, the US and Middle East especially.

October's unseasonably clement weather hit autumn and winter clothing and footwear sales, today's figures claim, but beauty products, cosmetics and fragrances were all up compared to last year.

Kevin Hawkins, LRC director, today said that all the signs pointed to a successful festive season for London retailers.

"This is a very encouraging result and although the comparatives get harder from now on, there is no doubt that shoppers have come back to the West End.

"There is no reason, therefore, why they won't be here in the run-up to Christmas, and the momentum should be maintained," he said.

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, which compiles the monthly figures alongside the LRC, added that this month's data came as "no great surprise".

"For most of this year, monthly performance has been recorded against a negative like-for-like number for the corresponding month in 2005, making it easier to achieve positive growth rates," she said.

"November 2005 was the point when like-for-likes entered positive territory so it will be interesting to see whether the numbers remain positive next month. The challenge will be even tougher in December when retailers will be working against a comparative of plus 5.7 per cent. This is the acid test for London retailers; if like-for-likes can remain positive by the end of the year, then London's retail revival would appear to be complete," Ms Dickinson concluded.


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