A new multi-venue gift card for the City of London is now available to buy as part of efforts to encourage local shopping and drive local economic recovery in the Square Mile and London’s Eastern fringe. The new City Gift Card can be spent with businesses across the area including retail, leisure, hospitality and services.
The City Gift Card is a collective project created and funded by the City of London Corporation, two Business Improvement Districts; Aldgate Connect BID and Cheapside Business Alliance, and two partnerships; Fleet Street Quarter and the Eastern City Partnership.
In October, the City of London Corporation unveiled a five-year mission to reinvent the capital in its report, London Recharged: Our vision for London 2025. The plan aims to help London emerge from the pandemic stronger, with a focus on collaboration, innovation and sustainability. One of the key themes of the report is enabling businesses of all sizes to flourish.
The City was home to 23,890 businesses in 2019, 99% SMEs. 522,000 people are employed in the City of London representing 10% of Greater London's overall employment. Estimates also suggest that 51% of City workers have been working from home during the pandemic.
Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, said: “This has been an exceptionally difficult year for many City businesses, particularly with office workers having been required to work from home.
“The City Gift Card is a fantastic, creative solution to help combat tough trading conditions and it is launching just in time for Christmas.
“I would encourage Christmas shoppers to support Square Mile businesses during these difficult times and purchasing a City Gift Card for their loved ones is a great way to do this.”
Merchants can register to receive the City Gift Card as payment, gaining an additional revenue stream when people use the City Gift Card to pay. No additional equipment is required.
The new City Gift Card will also be used to promote the City as a leisure destination. Recommendations in the City of London Corporation’s report include enabling new ways to participate in London, extending the city’s reach to new audiences, and creating vibrant experiences within the city, with an aspiration of increasing weekend and evening visitors by 50% by 2025.
Primera’s MD Ruth Duston, OBE, OC said: “The City Gift Card helps promote the Square Mile beyond its business reputation, celebrating the City as a vibrant destination, bursting with rich culture and heritage and showcasing the wonderful mix of places to eat, drink, shop and socialise.
“It also demonstrates how organisations can work together to support their local ecosystem in the face of this pandemic.”
The new City Gift Card is part of the award winning Town and City Gift Card programme from Scottish fintech Miconex. Each gift card is a prepaid Mastercard, offering a secure way to gift and working like local currency to keep money locked into an area. 37.7% of gift card purchasers chose a multi-store gift card in October 2020. The average spent on a Town and City Gift Card is £34.56 and 65% is spent on top when gift cards are redeemed.
Over 50 Town and City Gift Card programmes are active around the UK and Ireland, with each branded to a specific town, city or region. New programmes have recently launched in the South in Tavistock, Bury St. Edmunds and the Isle of Wight. Miconex also works with downtowns in the US and Canada alongside EML Payments.
Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex said the City Gift Card is a positive move to City businesses to flourish: “The City Gift Card is an excellent example of organisations working together for the greater good of their district, to help businesses to recover from the effects of the pandemic now, but also to future proof the City, make it an appealing leisure destination, and a place where businesses can flourish and prosper.”
Mary Gillmore, Owner of Beauty Essence, Cheapside welcomes the introduction of the new City Gift Card, commenting: “This year has been challenging for us all, especially for businesses within the Square Mile.
“The launch of the City Gift Card has come at a great time: it’s a bonus for City businesses as it enables our local community to support traders that have signed up, helping to drive footfall as people shop local. I urge any business that hasn’t signed up to this scheme to do so - it’s free and simple to set up, and will make such a difference to our area”.