Westfield develops halo?

Westfield Reports suggest Westfield London is having the opposite effect expected on its immediate environment, although it may be adversely affecting other neighbouring town centres.

Despite some initial concerns that the shopping centre might be detrimental to local traders, reports from a town centre forum meeting and from individual businesses show that many traders are experiencing a welcome boost in sales.

Westfield has attracted more than two million shoppers to Shepherds Bush since it opened on October 30 and it appears local traders are reaping the benefits, despite a gloomy economy.

Jason King, manager of West 12 Shopping Centre, told a town centre forum meeting that, in the first four days after Westfield’s opening, footfall at West 12 increased by 40 per cent. Since then, customer numbers have been 20 per cent higher than last year.

Hala Faiez, assistant manager at The Fragrance Shop at West 12, said: “Sales are better now than they were before Westfield opened. We are now trading like for like with last Christmas.”

Daniel Ahenkorah, manager of Holland & Barrett, said: “Everyone was anticipating that people would go over to Westfield, but I haven’t seen any difference. I’ve been meeting my sales targets.”

Bill Marshall, Manager of Shepherds Bush Empire, has said that bookings are up and ‘patrons with shopping bags’ are becoming an ever increasing occurrence.

Meanwhile, nearby Shepherds Bush Market is also seeing the first tentative signs of growth. “With people coming to the area, they are stopping to look at the market,” said Michael Moore from New Shepherds Bush Enterprises which runs the smaller Shepherds Bush Market. “We have seen a slight increase in business since Westfield opened.”

H&F Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh said: “It is early days for Westfield but the early indications are that many businesses in the area are benefiting from the Westfield effect. There is a wow factor to Westfield and it is pulling shoppers in from all over the country.”

There is a question as to how big the halo is, of course. Earlier reports suggested that footfall in Ealing Broadway was 7% down following Westfield London's opening.

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