Retail sales in Central London in April were 4.5% higher than a year earlier, on a like-for-like basis, comparable to 11.9% the previous year. According to the SPSL, retail footfall remained below year-earlier levels, but strong sales is in line with reports of people making fewer shopping trips but spending more on each trip. Visitor numbers remained higher than a year ago, with Western Europeans still the main overseas shoppers, together with Russians, but Americans less numerous.
Warm sunny weather boosted summer fashions and outdoor living, but there was less interest in 'indoor' homewares and big-ticket items. Kevin Hawkins, LRC Director, said "This is a reasonable result bearing in mind the challenging comparatives with April 2006. The declining rate of sales growth is in line with the UK trend but it should be noted that the increase of 4.5% is the lowest reported figure since 2005.
Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail, KPMG, added "The London results for April were below the trend of the last quarter, which is exactly what we have seen across the rest of the UK . This could represent the beginning of a lower growth phase as the comparatives become much tougher and the outlook less favourable. While a growth rate of 4.5% looks low in the context of recent figures for London , this is not a bad result, but it does reflect a wide degree of variation of performance between individual retailers and different sectors."
Established in 1989, retail research group SPSL is the largest European provider of proprietary tools for high accuracy customer traffic and behavioural analysis deployed by retailers. The company monitors more than 520 million visits to over 3,100 retail premises per annum in the UK alone. Its customers include many of the retail industry's most successful companies across all retail sectors.