Prime rents have remained stable for the first half of 2018 across most Central London streets according to the latest figures from CBRE.
New and Old Bond Street was a particularly active market with the past 18 months witnessing its highest levels of activity in years, maintaining the area as a primary target for leading international luxury brands. This activity includes new entrants (DoDo, Roger Vivier, Michael Kors and Tasaki), relocations (Smythson, Corneliani, Anne Fontaine and Alexander McQueen) and retailers returning to the street (Givenchy and Loewe). In addition, Burberry, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels have all re-geared their leases, incorporating longer terms and refurbishing their stores, reiterating the importance of having a flagship store location on the street.
There has also been increased interest and commitment from tech retailers in the Central London market. Samsung will open a 20,000sq ft showroom space at the Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, where products will be displayed and can be tested by customers in an immersive retail environment. Furthermore, a number of pure-play/online retailers are opening physical stores. Examples include the baggage company Knomo, handbag brand Hill and Friends and Independent eyewear brand Finlay & Co.
Michael Horwitz, head of Central London retail at CBRE, comments: “Although a high demand for prime retail pitches remains, retailers are more mindful of their operational costs when selecting a location to open a new store in the quickly evolving retail landscape.
“That said, the outlook remains positive for retail, particularly in prime Central London locations. This is partly being driven by an increase in demand from international operators for the right space and the continued drive of independent operators in categories such as health & beauty, wellness, and food & beverage as well as emerging tech retailers and traditionally online brands.”