Retailers in London's prestigious West End shopping district reported brisk trading on Boxing Day - one of the key dates in the year for the sector - and added that a London tube strike had not made much of a dent to their business.

I think the impact has been really minimal. It hasn't deterred shoppers, said Jace Tyrell from the New West End Company, which represents firms operating in the West End area.

Boxing Day is when retailers hope to attract as many customers as possible by offering knock-down prices to goods after Christmas, with the flagship stores around Oxford Street in the West End packed with shoppers.

This year's sales have been marred by a strike on London's underground transport system, but Transport for London (TFL) said more services than predicted were operating, although it warned travellers to expect disruption.

We are operating a service on most Tube lines, including key lines serving the West End, supported by London's 700 bus routes and extra buses, said London Underground chief operating officer Howard Collins.


The New West End Company said retailers were optimistic of making 50 million pounds in Boxing Day sales, and added that they had made 15 million pounds worth of sales during the first three hours of trading on Boxing Day.

Tyrell said year-on-year comparisons were difficult since Boxing Day 2010 fell on a Sunday and so had fewer hours of trading.

However, he added that West End retailers had reported that their Boxing Day sales were up from the 2009 level.

Britain's retail sector, which counts for about 8 percent of gross domestic product, has been hit hard by the country's economic slowdown, with consumers cutting back on spending and several retailers entering into administration.

However, the New West End Company said Boxing Day sales in the capital had been buoyed by the presence of wealthy international tourists from China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

John Lewis, Britain's biggest department store chain, had reported earlier this month a surge in sales in the run-up to Christmas, and the company said on Monday that online orders from its post-Christmas clearance were up 19 percent.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Jane Baird, Ron Askew)