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West End footfall hit in final weekend of Christmas trading amid calls for “circuit-breaker lockdown”

Tom Bottomley
20 December 2021

West End footfall was down by 17% on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 December – the final weekend before Christmas – compared to pre-pandemic 2019’s figures, and 5% down on the previous week, with the COVID Omicron variant spread rampant and a possible circuit-breaker lockdown looming.

Footfall was also 29% down on the full week, from 13-19 December, compared with the same week in 2019, according to the latest data from the New West End Company, which represents 600 brands, restaurants and businesses in the West End.

Jace Tyrrell, CEO of New West End Company, said: “West End retail and hospitality businesses will have been disappointed with the turnout on the critical final weekend of Christmas trading, with footfall down by 17% from pre-pandemic levels. With less than five days to go until Christmas day and the probabilities of a circuit-breaker lockdown increasingly on the horizon, the retail and leisure sector is now facing a huge amount of financial uncertainty when it should be enjoying a much needed shot in the arm.

We are therefore backing the #BusinessBooster campaign and calling on the Government to provide urgent and swift financial support. Temporary measures such as a 100% business rate relief for the first quarter of the year, extension of the VAT reduction and introduction of grants could be the difference between viable businesses avoiding closures and job losses in the new year.”

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