Oxford Street and Regent Street went traffic-free today, with the odd free concert, massage, face-paint and, er, singing-nun-on-wheels thrown in – all in a concerted effort to attract shoppers to the West End and persuade them to open their wallets in a big way.
With Westfield dominating press coverage, TV adverts and billboards across the capital, the special VIP (Very Important Pedestrians) Day in the centre of town simply had to deliver, at such a tricky time for retailers.
Initial figures show that VIP Day seems to have succeeded, with over 1.5 million shoppers striding the unclogged roads from 10am this morning. With 1 in 5 shoppers visiting from overseas to get their retail therapy, spending from this group in particular has increased markedly as the exchange rates shifted in favour of spending on these shores.
If you missed today, then you can still pop down tomorrow. Many of the events and promotions are being carried over through Sunday, even though it won’t be traffic-free.
What’s that? Recession? What recession?
Nun pic from Diamond Geezer’s Flickrstream