Home Money Why Bond Street is STILL hot: Luxury brands flock to London hotspot

Why Bond Street is STILL hot: Luxury brands flock to London hotspot

0 comment
Popular: Luxury brands still want to negotiate leases on Bond Street, Britain's most fashionable shopping street

A rooftop garden will flourish above the former Fenwick store on Bond Street, in a major sign of the revival sweeping this central London location.

As revealed this week, US private equity giant Blackstone paid £230m for 130-134 New Bond Street, Mayfair.

The purchase of the building, which houses the shoemaker Church and the watch companies Breitling and Audemars Piguet, highlights the growing interest in acquiring a location on this boulevard of glittering brands in the heart of the West End.

“The situation on Bond Street is improving,” says Oli Creasy, head of property research at wealth manager Quilter Cheviot. “Interest from property buyers, occupiers and investors is good and increasing.”

The closure of the Bond Street branch of the Fenwick chain in February was followed by the closure of the Mulberry and Smythson stores.

Popular: Luxury brands still want to negotiate leases on Bond Street, Britain’s most fashionable shopping street

But leading real estate consultants say empty units are not a sign of decline, but rather a sign of transition. Last week, Westminster City Council gave the green light to a “deep refurbishment” of the Fenwick building.

The redevelopment will create not only a garden in the heart of the West End but also offices and new retail units. The store’s Victorian facades will be retained.

The building’s owners, Cypriot firm Lazari Investments, engage leading UK architectural firm Foster + Partners.

“This ambitious project will act as a catalyst, injecting energy into this part of the city and underlining the global presence of the area,” explains its boss, Lord Norman Foster.

The Elizabeth Line at nearby Bond Street station is enhancing the appeal of the previously less than elegant northern part of the street, turning it into a powerful commercial destination.

As a result, the vacancy rate is 7 per cent, up from 13.6 per cent in 2021. Since then, Bond Street’s average rent has increased by 14.3 per cent, according to Savills data.

A luxury hotspot since the 18th century, Bond Street is the second most expensive shopping street in Europe, with an average annual rent of £1,150 per square foot, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone is ahead with an average of £1,152.

Store opening: Naomi Campbell in a Moncler quilted jacket

Store opening: Naomi Campbell in a Moncler quilted jacket

The average on the Champs Elysees in Paris is £877.

Anthony Selwyn, co-head of global premium retail at Savills, comments: “This is a very exciting time for Bond Street, with significant growth to come. The location is in better shape than ever, with a host of new openings for 2024.’

As Selwyn explains, the street is already home to luxury heavyweights such as Gucci, Fendi, Loewe, Celine, Brunello Cucinelli, Versace and Miu Miu.

Soon making their debut on this half-mile stretch of exclusive retail will be Moncler, maker of the £900 puffer jacket, Jacquemus, the wealthy Generation X-er brand, and Carolina Herrera, the American ultra-chic line.

And Watches of Switzerland will open a three-story Rolex megastore next summer.

These arrivals will be buoyed by the knowledge that Oxford Street is regaining its role as the country’s high street. The flashy American sweet shops that had emerged are disappearing.

In their place are names like Abercrombie & Fitch and Uniqlo.

Kenningham Retail’s James Brick confirms that Bond Street remains a “phenomenal address where elite brands are keen to plant their flag”.

Transactions take longer because brands deliberate all aspects of the lease, including the nature of adjacent stores. Brick says, “They don’t settle for just any store.”

Bond Street is a conservation area, full of buildings of architectural value and heritage, some of which appear on maps published in the 1790s, meaning planning consent can take time.

Brick says it may take more than two years before a prospective tenant first inspects a property and signs the agreement. Luxury brand houses seek a deep and long-term relationship with the area.

‘At Oxford Street, the lease will be, say, ten years, with a five-year termination clause. On Bond Street it’s 20 years,” Brick says.

However, there is general agreement that restoring VAT-free shopping for tourists would accelerate the transformation process.

The Chancellor made no reference to this “tourist tax” in his March budget, although the additional revenue from its abolition would exceed VAT refunds by up to £2bn, and an estimated £400m would be spent on stores, part of them in bonds. Street, but also on other commercial streets.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

You may also like