West End shoppers spend record £280 million in VIP spree
The West End witnessed its biggest shopping weekend of the year with 1.6 million shoppers spending an estimated £280 million during a special traffic-free two-day period. London, UK. 11th December 2011
Retailers have recorded the strongest weekend’s trading of the year as over 1.6 million shoppers flooded into London’s West End for the seventh annual traffic-free American Express Shop West End VIP Weekend. Stores on London’s premier shopping streets saw 1 million shoppers spending £180 million on Saturday with a further 600,000 shoppers anticipated to put £100 million through the tills on Sunday – up £50 million on normal shopping weekends.
After a slow start to Christmas spending shoppers were out spending in force tempted by exclusive weekend-only discounts, offers and giveaways and the promise of traffic-free streets across the weekend for the first time ever.
Says Richard Dickinson, CEO of New West End Company the event organiser: “Christmas has really gone off with a bang this weekend. Based on past experience we were confident that despite the slow start to seasonal spending, shoppers would get the tills ringing over the next two weeks but this weekend has exceeded expectations. Compared to VIP Day last year, when Sunday saw traffic come back into the area, retailers are reporting significant rise in sales, with winter fashion and technology the most popular items. The hard work of all parties involved in securing an extra traffic-free day has really paid off.”
Over 500 buses an hour were cleared from the streets of London’s West End, leaving Oxford Street and Regent Street clear for shoppers. Spectacular on street entertainment was put on specifically for the ultimate Christmas shopping day. The highlight, a massive 30 hour West End Christmas Carol-A-Thon to raise money for Kids Company running the duration of the weekend saw the most dedicated singers housed in the window of House of Fraser’s flagship store overnight. American Express Cardmembers also helped raise money for Kids Company with American Express giving double points to Cardmembers and £1 to the charity every time an American Express Card was used over the weekend.1
Continues Dickinson, “It’s a real shoppers market out there with stores offering discounts of up to 50% - and the tactic is working with £20m going through the tills in the first three hours of Saturday’s trading.”