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London Retail Sales Topped the Rest of UK
Apr 30, 2009

Strong euro and favorable weather conditions helped March retail sales in London to outpace the overall retail sales in the UK.

The latest data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggests that central London’s retail sales figures surged 5.1% YOY in March 2009 as compared to the annual increase of 1.7% recorded in March 2008, as reported by kamcity.

For yet another time, London’s retail sales figures has outclassed that of the UK as a whole, whose YOY retail sales declined 1.2% from their levels in March 2008. The number of shoppers in London also grew in comparison of the previous year, while 0.2% YOY fall was observed in the UK. The number of shoppers in central London remained 6% higher in comparison of March 2008, when there was just 1.9% rise in the shoppers’ figures over March 2007, according to Synovate Retail Performance.

BRC noted that the strength gained by euro constantly lured foreign visitors, particularly from the Western Europe. But some retailers stated that despite the increasing number of tourists, their spending was relatively less. Signature products witnessed good sales while handbags, beauty products, footwear and designer clothing were more popular among the affluent travelers.

Moreover, the sunny days also led to the early enthusiasm seen in the purchasers shopping the new season footwear and apparels, with mid-ranges grabbing the major attention. However outdoor leisure sales rose, but furniture and home wares sales continued to face hard time, particularly for big purchases.

Although, the government has been cautioned that rise in business rates may result in the loss of nearly 20,000 jobs, killing hundreds of retail companies. According to BRC, other effects of the rise in rates include a decline of £500 Million as other taxes in 2011, £50 Million additional investment in unemployment benefits as well as reduced investment by retail companies.

According to a Research Analyst at RNCOS, “Retail sales in London has surged in March due to pleasant weather and higher tourist arrivals. Although, with the shift of Easter this year, which shifted to April this year as compared to March in 2008, coupled with entirely different weather patterns, it seems hard to make any comparison. Moreover, rise in business rates may lead to potential damage to the jobs, businesses and the economy, in general.”

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