Retailers in London's famous West End shopping district expect bumper Christmas sales this year. But is the UK high street really Brexit proof - or could this be their last 'Merry Christmas' for some time? Ross Miklaszewicz reports
No sign of Brexit doom and gloom here. Just blue skies and smiling faces outside one of the world's most famous toy stores. In London's West End shopping district, after a year of uncertainty, they're expecting tills to ring louder than ever. Sales forecast to rise by 1.6% - sending 2.3 billion pounds through the tills this year. SOUNDBITE (English) JACE TYRELL, CEO, WEST END COMPANY, SAYING: "I think equally the pound dropping - it's more expensive to go overseas and we do see a lot of our UK customers come to central London and the West End over Christmas with things like the Christmas lights whether it's Bond, Oxford or Regent Street. A lot of our UK shoppers like to come and experience that." Footfall is expected to decline - by over three per cent as consumers change habits - many going online. It can take more than festive windows and Christmas lights to get shoppers out. SOUNDBITE (English) JACE TYRELL, CEO, WEST END COMPANY, SAYING: "Retailers are really more savvy now in attracting customers into the store so you know lots of customer service experiences. John lewis doing a wonderful roof garden up there at the biggest Christmas store. But equally click and collect is really a new trend that we're seeing now." But Brexit's blamed for lacklustre consumer sentiment and rising prices .... So - are London shoppers planning to cut back? SOUNDBITE (English) SHOPPER, SAYING: "Probably not, I don't have very many people to buy for so i'll probably do about the same." SOUNDBITE (English) SHOPPER, SAYING: "Well i think we still don't know the effects of Brexiting but i guess Christmas spirits take over and we end up spending more than we in to most years. i don't think this year will be any different." A bumper Christmas in store this year perhaps ... But retailers looking ahead to 2017 nervously. Hoping this won't be their last happy Christmas for some time to come.