Sadiq Khan has urged shoppers to return to London’s West End as new figures have shown that footfall is still 63% down on the same time last year despite retail lockdown restrictions easing eight weeks ago.

The data from New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses across Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and Mayfair, shows that footfall has been rising slowly in the district since non-essential stores reopened on 15 June but has now plateaued at less than half of the usual levels. Research carried out on behalf of New West End Company further reveals that customers still lack confidence in visiting central London.

Yesterday,  Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agrawal met with representatives from West End retailers Selfridges, Hackett, Uniqlo, Arcadia and Schuh to hear how Covid-19 has impacted the capital’s retail sector.

Following the meeting, Khan said:  “For decades central London has been the economic engine of the UK, a cultural powerhouse, and a gateway for global tourism to the UK. But it now faces a real existential threat from the Covid-19 pandemic

“Until we have an operational vaccine in place social distancing will have to continue to protect people’s health, and with employers planning to continue home-working well into next year, the numbers of people visiting the West End will be reduced for many months ahead.

“As Mayor I’m doing all within my powers to help. This includes providing loans and funding directly to small businesses and ensuring TfL’s unprecedented range of safety and hygiene measures mean more passengers are now able to travel on London public’s transport network.”