By guest author Sahar Nazir from Retail Gazette
- New West End Company warns that London’s Oxford Street will be “boarded up with no hope of recovery”
- Over 50,000 retail and hospitality jobs will be lost when the latest lockdown ends
- The number of gift shops on Oxford Street rose by 71% between 2012 and 2020
New research has shown that at least one-fifth of London’s Oxford Street will be “boarded up with no hope of recovery” as the UK remains in a third lockdown.
The New West End Company, a lobby group that represents 600 firms, warned that over 50000 retail and hospitality jobs will be lost when the latest lockdown ends.
The number of gift shops on Oxford Street rose by 71 % between 2012 and 2020, while fashion and clothing shops recorded the greatest decline.
This trend was accelerated in the last two years, mostly due to the forced closures of non-essential retail that has led to many administrations and permanent closures.
Nevertheless, the lack of tourism, hesitant shoppers and absence of nearby office workers has led to a decline in footfall on Oxford Street.
Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group fell into administration in November, which puts the future of the Topshop flagship at risk, given that new owner Asos has shifted the brand online and has since said that keeping hold of the store was “not a priority”.
Meanwhile, 243-year old department store chain Debenhams is set to shutter its stores, including its Oxford Street flagship.
Fellow department store group John Lewis is converting 45 % of its flagship into offices for use.
Moreover, Microsoft is considering closing its recently opened flagship store on neighbouring Regent Street to save cash.
Selfridges asset management director Tim Reade said that although Oxford Street is seen as “world class” this is not the case at the moment.
Selfridges nevertheless is betting on a recovery of the area after it invested GBP 300 million in its site.