Feb 24, 2022
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Central London retail store space demand strong

Feb 24, 2022

Demand for new stores in central London is at record levels as the capital’s retail sector continues to recover from the pandemic, research from property firm Colliers shows.

Image: Nigel Taylor

Some 101,000 sq ft of West End retail space is currently being refurbished or redeveloped, triple the level of December 2019, and 49% up on the five-year average.

Major retail schemes in development include the 37,000 sq ft mixed-use office and retail space at the corner of New Bond Street and Oxford Street, the Hanover development at Hanover Square in Mayfair, and the new luxury retail scheme The Collection in Knightsbridge.

Colliers head of central London retail Paul Souber told the London Evening Standard that while major closures on Oxford Street such as Debenhams, House of Fraser and Topshop had created some big voids on the famous shopping street, it also presented “once-in-a-generation” opportunities for new retailers to snap up space.

Furniture giant Ikea, for example, has acquired the former prime location Topshop store on Oxford Street.

Souber added that he received more than 1,000 requests to find space for retailers or restaurants in central London over the past year, and 177 of these requests were from businesses that had never had a presence in the capital before.

The report did find that the number of empty sites increased in many areas, particularly in the City of London, during the pandemic as businesses collapsed but it expected “void rates” to fall as the recovery picks up.

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