Arrival of HS2 and Crossrail to inject £1.4 billion into London retail


Two of the country’s biggest transport infrastructure projects, HS2 and Crossrail, could pump an estimated £1.4 billion into London’s West End, according to a leading retail analyst.


Research from independent retail real estate consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs suggests that Crossrail 1 will push up high street spending in the area by as much as 6.3 per cent[1] once it is fully operational in December next year. HS2, due to open in 2026, is also on track to generate a further £33million per year, while Crossrail 2 could boost the economy by an additional 4.5 per cent after 2033, if given the go-ahead.


Commenting on the findings, Jonathan De Mello, director at Harper Dennis Hobbs, said:


“While West End retailers may not have experienced the same challenges as other major UK high streets, this research is welcome news to business owners who are concerned about the future of retail, in particular, the continued onslaught of online shopping.


“The completion of Crossrail 1 is now on the horizon, reducing journey times by around 30 per cent and increasing the catchment area to open up an extra £800million of retail spend.


“Fast journey times to Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road mean central shopping districts will certainly benefit from increased footfall – but some of the most notable rises are expected in Ealing and Woolwich, which should see their market share grow by 7.9 per cent and 8.2 per cent respectively.


“Greater connectivity to and around the capital will hopefully give retailers and investors the confidence to make plans and capitalise on this predicted surge in footfall, in line with changing shopping patterns.”


He added that when Crossrail 2 and second phase of HS2, which is set to cut journey times from Manchester to London to just over an hour, are complete in 2033, West End retailers are on course to see retail spending grow by £33million. Retail spend is forecast to climb by more than 11 per cent once the two Crossrails are finished, with towns such as Slough and Epsom experiencing growth and market share being taken from North London.


Harper Dennis Hobbs uses gravity modelling to predict future retail spend and provide an accurate definition of retail centres’ catchment areas. Taking into account competing locations, as well as shoppers’ spending power, figures calibrated using a range of variables such as travel time, the amount of retail space and other key footfall drivers.

[1] Excluding consumer spend growth

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