London heads retail sales rally

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The Independent Online

Retail sales in central London boomed last month, coming in a whopping 9.9 per cent higher on a like-for-like basis than in 2009, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Part of the boost was down to Easter, which fell in March rather than April this year, and saw a 4.3 per cent rise in footfall numbers as consumers flocked back to the high street after the worst recession since the Second World War. The weak pound was a second factor, luring tourists to London with the promise of cheaper shopping.

"These are strong figures, helped by an earlier Easter, overseas visitors and improving consumer confidence," Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said. "Overall, London's retail sales growth was well up on a year ago, and outperformed the rest of the UK by a wide margin."

London's shops are outperforming the rest of the UK so far this year. In the country as a whole, sales growth ran at a more modest 4.4 per cent in March. And for the whole January- to-March period, London's retail sales are up 7.7 per cent compared with 2009. In the UK as a whole, sales up are just 2.1 per cent.