A Central London location is still high on retailers’ wish lists, according to Colliers’ London Retail and Restaurants team who registered 840 new requirements for the market between January and September, equating to 4.8 million sq ft of space.
Of this new demand the highest demand came from food and beverage (324 requirements) followed by fashion shops and grocery, says the international property adviser. Throughout the year demand for space has been consistent, with Q1 seeing 349 new requirements and Q2 and Q3 recording 269 and 222 respectively. March saw a peak in demand with 137 new requirements coming through.
Paul Souber, Co-Head of UK & EMEA Retail at Colliers, comments: “Despite what many would have thought in January, this year continues to surprise the market and demonstrate the resilience of London retail. However, despite the pandemic, the pull of London as a global destination remains.”
Occupier demand for London property is not just from established names: of the requirements 144 were from new entrants looking for space. The overwhelming majority of interest has come from the UK, followed by the US (17), Italy (9) and France (8). There has also been interest from Australian, Middle Eastern and German brands. Since January, openings from notable overseas brands include Mango, Onitsuka Tiger, Hugo Boss, Canali and Moose Knuckles.
Paul continued: “The fact that there has been significant interest from such a diverse range of geographies is testament to how important a London presence is for brands.
“We are seeing a real shift change in how the store is understood and this is having a particularly noticeable effect in the capital. Retailers are moving away from seeing the store as a purely transactional presence, instead understanding the brand-enhancing value of having a physical showroom or even experience-led offering at a prominent location such as Oxford Street or Covent Garden. This has certainly helped London retain its allure and will only help strengthen its position as we move forward from the pandemic.”