You wouldn't expect Harrods and Fortnum and Mason to be on the same side as Woolies and Zavvi, but they're apparently also feeling the effects of the recession. The posh shops are among a group from London First who've written to the Mayor to complain (in the nicest possible way) about how he's handling the fall in consumer confidence.
They want a marketing campaign to attract more overseas visitors (along the lines of: "look! Our currency's knackered! Come and spend!" but probably classier) and also - and slightly more worryingly - a campaign aimed at those of us who already live here. If London First gets its way, we're mere months away from being reminded of how London has the 'wow' factor (it's a city, not a house on a TV property show) and "leveraging the Mayor's own brand". We think this means lots of PR opportunities with Boris posing next to the Gherkin. (You can read their full letter if you can be bothered to open this here PDF.)
While this should be good news for Visit London and finally give the Mayor's overseas offices something to do, Boris is keeping his powder dry. He doesn't want to "spend taxpayers' money prematurely", preferring to wait for the "moment of optimum impact". Um, when would that be, exactly? Does Boris know something we don't about how much deeper London has to fall into the crapper?
It looks like a major campaign is due to launch in April anyway, but whether that's for the benefit of us or non-Londoners remains to be seen. And who needs another bunch of adverts reminding us of the existence of über-expensive shopping 'destinations' and mega tourist spots when we could be exploring more interesting shopping streets and there's urban glamour to be had? But then that wouldn't put any more cash into the coffers of Westfield, would it?