London’s West End was deserted again today with few shoppers to be seen on Regent Street and Oxford Street as hospitality leaders warned that pubs and restaurants face a ‘cataclysmic’ Christmas season.
The New West End Company said that footfall in London’s shopping district was down by 17 per cent last weekend compared to the same period in 2019, and down by 5 per cent on the previous week. Across the entire week starting on December 13, shopper numbers were down by 29 per cent compared with two years ago. And figures from market research firm Springboard found shopper numbers fell 8.5 per cent in central London last weekend.
However there was something of a mixed picture throughout the day, with shopper numbers gradually building into the afternoon when Oxford Street looked much busier along with other city centres such as Winchester.
It comes as Britons are now putting themselves into a pre-Christmas lockdown with nearly half saying the Government’s current Covid-19 measures do not go far enough, with just four days to go until December 25.
A survey by Ipsos MORI revealed a majority of Britons are now taking matters into their own hands to reduce their chances of catching the virus, with 58 per cent saying they have avoided public transport or plan to do so.
Some 57 per cent are not attending social gatherings in friends or family’s houses, while the same figure are not going to pubs or restaurants. In addition, 45 per cent of workers say they are or are going to work from home instead of the office, while 47 per cent said that they have not or plan not to attend their work Christmas party.