Fortnum & Mason opens in the City's Royal Exchange as three pop-ups also debut
today Nov 12, 2018
The conversion of The City of London to a major retail destination has been given further weight with Fortnum & Mason having just opened a new branch there.
The opening in the London business district that was once poorly served by retail stores is a significant move for the retailer. It focuses on upscale grocery but also sells luxury beauty, homewares and fashion accessories, all of which is in demand by the area’s demographic that includes City workers and tourists.
The City has become a key target for luxury retailers and the fact that Fortnum’s has opened only its fourth physical store there speaks volumes about the importance of those shoppers and their spending power.
The new City branch is at the Royal Exchange, which is a fitting location for a retail brand with such a long history as the Exchange was the area’s key retail hub from as early as the 16th century.
The Royal Exchange currently hosts over 51,000 sq ft of high-end retail space and houses stores such as Hermès, Aspinal of London, Penhaligon’s, Tiffany, Smythson, Church’s, Jo Malone London and L’Occitane. It’s also a big venue for pop-ups and has opened temporary stores for Melissa Odabash, Christian Louboutin and Bucklesbury & More in just the past couple of weeks.
The Fortnum’s branch covers 2,400 sq ft and is supplemented by a Fortnum & Mason restaurant & bar in the central courtyard.
Fortnum’s CEO Ewan Venters told The Times that the opening demonstrates the company’s confidence in the City prior to the UK’s exit from the EU next March and also that the location has brought together “two London institutions with a shared history in trade and commerce and a shared passion in architectural history.”
Apart from its historic Piccadilly location that’s over 300 years old, Fortnum’s has another at St Pancras railway station and one in Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
The retailer is owned by the Westons, the family whose major presence in UK retail also sees them controlling Primark and Heal’s, while the Canadian branch of the family controls Selfridges.