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London Christmas Shopping Takes Major Hit as Omicron Spreads

Shoppers, cross Oxford Street in central London on Dec. 4.

Shoppers, cross Oxford Street in central London on Dec. 4.

Photographer: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images

The number of people visiting London’s major shopping district was down by almost a fifth on the last weekend before Christmas compared with pre-pandemic levels, a further sign of the toll the spread of the omicron variant is taking on beleaguered U.K. stores.

Footfall in the West End was 17% lower on Saturday and Sunday than the equivalent period in 2019, and 5% down on the previous weekend, according to data from the New West End Company. For the week as a whole, footfall slumped 29% relative to two years ago.