Page last updated at 01:39 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 02:39 UK

Central London sales go up by 9%

Shopper's on Oxford Street
Department stores drove the rise in sales, analysts believe

Retail sales in central London have risen by nearly 9% over 12 months, when revenues fell across the UK as a whole.

The British Retail Consortium said spending in the heart of the capital was up by 8.7% in June 2008 compared to the same month a year previously.

But in the same period, the national figure fell by 0.4%, it added.

Stephen Robertson, the Consortium's director-general, said: "The mood among central London customers is clearly different from the rest of the UK."

Consumers have been taking advantage of heavy discounting by London retailers, he said, while high petrol prices have discouraged out-of-town shopping trips.

The slide of the value of the pound against the Euro has also made London much cheaper for visitors from Europe.

However, the figures showed that the homewares market remained tough, especially "big-ticket" items such as furniture - a possible result of weakness in the housing market and a squeeze in household budgets.

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at auditors KPMG, said the rise had been driven by certain businesses - department stores in particular - and should not be seen as representative of Greater London as a whole.

"Those that have done well have brought forward their summer sale activity in order to drive footfall and increase sales," she added.

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