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London shops and restaurants set for major bounceback


A total of 320 new active requirements in the first quarter of the year

As the constraints of lockdown are loosened, London is seeing a new influx of international and UK retail and restaurant occupiers.  

Occupier demand for London shop and restaurant property is significantly up on the corresponding pre-pandemic period last year. According to Colliers’ new London Occupier Demand Tracker, there were 320 new active requirements in the first quarter of the year, representing more than 1.86 million sq. ft of space. This is up significantly on Q1 for both 2019 and 2020.

Since the beginning of the year, a steady flow of deals has seen international brands such as Hugo Boss and Mango on take space on Oxford Street; Barbara Sturm is opening a new store on Mount Street while Ganni and Pinko have respectively signed for stores on the Kings Road and in Knightsbridge. Domestic brands have also been active with Rixo taking space in Chelsea, Vashi at Covent Garden and Monsoon launching a new concept on Marylebone High Street. 

The international property adviser reports that demand for space in London has been steadily increasing: March saw 137 new active requirements which was substantially ahead of both February and January. The average requirement size has also been at a level unseen for several years according to Colliers, as large retail, restaurant, bar and leisure concepts target London. In March the average requirement was 5,248 sq. ft.

Paul Souber, Co-Head of UK & EMEA Retail at Colliers, comments: “This data shows the underlying strength of London as a world class destination, to experience the best places to shop, eat and drink. In the face of unprecedented market disruption, the first quarter of the year has been a considerably more active one than anyone in the market could have expected. Not only have we had a high number of requirements in the market, this has been coupled with a consistently high international demand.

“These new figures are indicative of the appetite we are seeing from brands and concepts looking for a presence in London who understand that there is now the opportunity to secure attractive lease terms and in locations which previously were in scarce supply. This trend is not confined to UK brands, we’ve registered interest from 48 international retailers from 15 different countries, including demand from Australian, Middle Eastern, German and American brands to name a few.”

Colliers notes the most active sectors in the first quarter are food & beverage (134 requirements),  health, beauty & wellness sector (34) fashion (26) and grocery (38).

Paul Souber continues: “In the food & beverage sector, new operators are capitalising on previous occupier fit-outs / infrastructure. Given the profoundly difficult year that F&B operators have had, it’s very encouraging to see them top the table for the most active requirements.”

“These figures are is a strong indicator by businesses of their belief in London’s long-term recovery and indeed revival. 

“We have seen people return time and time again to the capital’s bars, restaurants and stores as soon as they were allowed. The pent-up demand is beginning to be released, and judging from our figures, there will be exciting new brands for people to explore and even more excellent places to eat and drink.”

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Paul Souber

Co- Head UK & EMEA Retail

Retail Agency - Central London

London - West End

Paul Souber is a highly experienced London retail property expert, and has a particular specialism in the luxury sector.

He advises major London landlords – including The Crown Estate, Grosvenor, The Church Commissioners and Shaftesbury Plc – on how their retail holdings in the capital can be enhanced through leasing and placemaking.

His consultancy also involves advising various leading brands on their property strategy and sourcing the stores which best serve their strategic needs.

During a career in which he has advised on the leasing of more than 1.5m sq. ft. of shopping space, Paul has worked with clients including Yves St Laurent, Roksanda Ilincic, Gina Shoes, Balenciaga, Oliver Bonas, Boux Avenue, Sweaty Betty and Headmasters.

He is Head of London Retail Agency and Co Head of the EMEA Retail Team at Colliers International

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Rebecca Allen

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I have been working in commercial property communications for over 10 years  having previously worked at CBRE and Savills.

In my role at Colliers I am responsible for the PR of National Capital Markets, London Offices and Investment Property  Management teams as well as Scotland.

My role includes:

  • Creating and exectuing PR plans for business lines that span press, marketing and digital channels
  • Media monitoring and reporting
  • Advising on brand, tone of voice and profile raising 
  • Journalist relationship building through face to face meetings, phone calls day to day assistance with stories
  • Reputation management of the Colliers brand



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