Warm October hits West End

Retail sales in central London fell sharply last month, for only the second time this year, as the warmest October for five years took its toll on spending ahead of the crucial Christmas trading period.

The New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers, said sales fell by 4.1 per cent in October, as the balmy weather hit purchases of winter coats, thermals, jackets and knitwear.

Trading in London's West End has powered ahead of the rest of the UK recently, so the drop in sales will send shivers through the wider retail sector. The last time sales dropped in London was in February, with a much smaller 0.5 per cent fall.

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