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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Million pound bid to boost sales
Shoppers on Oxford Street on Saturday
Some tourists are shopping out of town rather than in central London
A multi-million pound campaign is to be launched by Ken Livingstone to draw visitors back to West End shops in the wake of the London bombings.

The move comes as latest figures from the London Retail Consortium (LRC) show July sales dropped by 9% on last year.

Details of the campaign, expected to be launched before the end of the month, remain under wraps, said a spokesman for the mayor of London.

But funding will come from the mayor's coffers and some private companies.

A spokesman for the mayor's office said although Londoners responded to the attacks with resilience, there was still a significant downturn in people visiting shops, restaurants, theatres, and visitor attractions in central London.

The question now is whether some consumers will continue to stay away from Central London
Kevin Hawkins, London Retail Consortium director

"What we want to do is to encourage visitors and Londoners into London's West End and central London to take full advantage of its unparalleled range of shops, restaurants, entertainments and visitor attractions," he said.

"Active discussions have already been taking place between the Mayor's Office, Visit London, Transport for London, and those in the private sector most affected, to put together a major marketing campaign to encourage people back into the heart of the capital."

He added that practical steps were being finalised and would be announced shortly.

Analysts said sales recovered a little after the 7 July and 21 July bombings but continued to be depressed by Tube disruption, security alerts and general consumer anxiety.

'Serious decline'

While Londoners and commuters returned to the shops, day-trippers and tourists remained wary and often favoured out-of-town shopping, said Joscelyne Hynard, senior analyst for British Retail Consortium.

Kevin Hawkins, LRC director, said the decline in sales was very serious and has been compounded by a 60% increase in the congestion charge.

"The question now, is whether some consumers will continue to stay away from central London and whether tourists will be deterred by the threat of further disruption," he said.

Meanwhile tourism organisation Visit London is also running a campaign called London in September aimed at boosting visitor numbers over the next month.

They will distribute 1.2 million copies of a mini-guide listing the city's attractions and events, as well as launching a website.

While the first six months of the year showed a 12% year-on-year rise in overseas visitors, there were concerns over forward bookings and revenues for the rest of the year, said Visit London.

West End recovers after attacks
04 Aug 05 |  Entertainment

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