Future Cities Forum has been looking at research ahead of its new round table series on tourism, heritage and retail.
The EY Item Club has just released some better than expected news for the UK economy as 'retail sales rebounded in April after being savaged by the Beast from the East in March',
However, it states that while retail sales rose 1.6% month on month in April, 'it is premature to celebrate the return of consumers, who still appear to be cautious having had an extended squeeze on their purchasing power and confidence pressurised by economic and Brexit uncertainties'.
It goes on to say that the main support to consumer spending has come from strong employment figures which reached a new high in March. However, the recent rise in oil prices to a three-and-a-half year peak could lead inflation to be more than expected in the next term at least and hold back the improvement in consumer purchasing power.
The Retail Gazette is reporting that London is now the second favourite destination for luxury US retailers wanting to break into the European market. Its source is Savills which has found that there has been overseas expansion of luxury brands, spurred on by Europe's letting activity in the global luxury retail market, with London and Paris acting as a favourite stepping stone. Accessible luxury brands have been much more acquisitive in recent years growing their share of the market from 38% in 2016 to 45% in 2017.
Our 'Art, Investment and Cities' forum had Charles Saumarez Smith, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, talking about the need for London to continue to compete with other European cities as a top tourism, retail and work destination, identifying the value of the arts in determining the Capital's success.