London's West End in retail push

Westminster City Council is trying to stem the exodus of West End shoppers to out-of-town retail centres.

Many West End shoppers have switched to retail centres, such as Bluewater in Kent and Lakeside in Essex, because of the congestion charge and anti-social behaviour in Leicester Square, hitting businesses in the area, according to Westminster. Last weekend, the recently formed West End Marketing Alliance, led by the council, launched a campaign to bring people back with a day of free open-air West End theatre performances in Leicester Square.

Westminster councillor and chairman of the West End Marketing Alliance, Danny Chalkley, said: 'Over the next year, through our "Come Back to the West End" programme, we will showcase events and manage media relations in partnership with business improvement districts, The Heart of London which covers Piccadilly and The New West End Company, which covers Oxford Street.'

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