West End to contribute £11bn to UK's economy by 2020

Streets in red are covered by the New West End Company; the gold area is the London Luxury Quarter
Streets in red are covered by the New West End Company; the gold area is the London Luxury Quarter

London's West End retail district is on track to increase its contribution to the UK's GDP by a quarter in the next four years, from £8.8bn to £11bn, according to the New West End Company.

The body, which manages the area's business improvement district, said the ongoing success of the West End was thanks in large part to an influx of US flagship stores. Fifteen of the 41 news store openings in the last year have been North American brands.

The predicted boom in revenue would be accelerated by the opening of the Elizabeth Line – formerly known as Crossrail – in 2018, NWEC added. The line will stop at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations and provide easier access to the area from places including Heathrow Airport.

The line is expected to bring an extra 60 million visits to the West End annually – a 30% increase on the current level.

Of the current £8.8bn sales generated in the area, £3.3bn (37.5%) come from retail tourism, and NWEC said there had been an "unprecedented" increase in sales and footfall in the months since the Brexit referendum, with the weaker pound creating an attractive opportunity for overseas shoppers.

It said spend by American tourists had risen especially quickly – 73% year-on-year – in the months following the referendum.

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, said: "Our focus remains to champion the success of this extraordinary district – the largest retail destination anywhere in the world, and where capital investment meets world class retail.

"We are currently championing the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s "#LondonIsOpen" campaign in New York, to drive inward investment and keep open door policies and access to London’s West End."

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