Changing face of London retail

Monday, 10 February 2014
The face of London retail is one of constant change. As the west-end's giants of Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street become full, many brands are looking to other retail destination that will deliver the cachet and foot flow, but that are slightly off the beaten track.

Mount Street is now as fashionable as Bond Street

Take Mayfair for example, when Dover Street Market opened in 2004, the area was full of antique shops and independents, now it is also home to Acne and Christian Louboutin's men's store. Similarly when Marc Jacobs opened his store on Mount Street in 2007 it was a quiet street catering mainly to heritage brands, private clubs and delicatessens. Then it quickly grew into a new shopping destination with Balenciaga, RRL, and Nicholas Kirkwood. Now Céline is moving in, along with Christopher Kane and Roksanda Ilincic and these days the street has become as fashionable as Bond Street.

When there is only so much space to go around and brands are looking for new store possibilities, new retail hubs are created. Take Pelham Street in South West London, between Knightsbridge and South Kensington, where international brands Carven and 3.1 Phillip Lim both opened their first UK flagships, said WGSN. Also Conduit Street is redefining itself as a new luxury destination, with Dior, Jimmy Choo, MM6, John Varvatos and Diesel Black Gold opening stores.

Another new hotspot is Albemarle Street, which runs parallel to Bond and Dover Streets. This area has always been a little quieter and off the beaten path to Green Park, Bond Street and Bruton street. New openings include Amanda Wakeley's new three-storey townhouse at number 18, as well as luxury jeweller Boodles' new boutique. These join Paul Smith's latest flagship, which opened in September at number 9.

Of course the leasehold on properties in the main streets are some of the most expensive in the world and having a shop in the West End is unaffordable to many brands. Without investment most designers will never see a store opening in the main shopping streets. Hence new areas in Knightsbridge and Mayfair, even Shoreditch's Redchurch Street, are luring in brands that are looking for retail space without extortionate rates.

Image: Céline Mount Street

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