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Footfall in Knightsbridge over Christmas nears 2019 levels as retailers herald ‘pleasant surprise’

Shoppers queued outside Harrods in Knightsbridge on Boxing Day (Matt Alexander/PA) (PA Wire)
Shoppers queued outside Harrods in Knightsbridge on Boxing Day (Matt Alexander/PA) (PA Wire)

Top retailers in Knightsbridge including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Burberry said shopper numbers approached 2019 levels in the area in the first week of the post-Christmas sales.

Figures compiled by the Knightsbridge Partnership, which represents around 300 businesses in the area, and seen exclusively by the Evening Standard show that footfall for Knightsbridge was 45% higher between 26th December and 2nd January than the same week the previous year, and less than a percentage point below the equivalent period in 2019.

More shoppers visited Knightsbridge on the opening day of the Boxing Day sales than on any other day that week, the report showed.

According to the partnership, the Christmas period can account for up to 33% of sales across the entire year, and is therefore a vital contributor toward the sustainability of retail and the wider high street.

Steve Medway, CEO of the Knightsbridge Partnership, said the figures were a “pleasant surprise”.

“Transport strikes, cost of living and snowfall do not appear to have dampened Christmas spirit,” he added.

But he suggested that the government needed to continue to think about how the area competes with the likes of Paris and Milan, which currently offer incentives, such as tax-free shopping, to consumers.

“For the international shopper, the return of tax-free shopping would put us back in the game versus international shopping destinations,” he said.

Michael Ward, managing director at Harrods, said: “This year’s Boxing Day sales have so far outperformed our expectations for this year.”

In the week before Christmas, the area also performed well, with visits by shoppers increasing 18.8% in the area compared to the previous pre-Christmas week, and also bucking a wider London trend of where visits were 3.4% lower.

Among other things, the area has recently attracted a new state of the art Apple Store on Brompton Road and the return of Burberry’s flagship store.