London’s retail sales rise


Commercial property in London may begin to pick up over the months ahead, following the news that retail sales have grown in the capital.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have found that retail sales in central London grew by 6.5 per cent in January compared with the same month last year, which was considerably up on the 1.1 per cent seen across the whole of the country.

The news could increase the demand for commercial property in London, as more businesses recognise that the capital is proving to be somewhat resilient to the recession so far.

"After four months of annual declines, there was a strong bounce back in London’s January retail sales," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.

"Customers took advantage of the many clearance sales on offer, resulting in the highest like-for-like increase since August," he added.

There had also been an increase in the number of overseas shoppers coming to London in January, the survey found, with the weak pound encouraging more people to travel from Europe and other parts of the world.

However, the BRC warned that tough times lie ahead, with February’s snow likely to have had a negative impact on sales figures.

The UK suffered some of the worst snowfalls for almost 20 years at the beginning of February, with many people unable to get to their London offices as transport services were cancelled across the capital.