LONDON — The London Luxury Quarter, an association representing a network of 65 streets and arcades spanning Mayfair, Piccadilly and St. James’s, has released its annual report highlighting growth in the area’s retail and property markets and future development projects.
Operated by the New West End Co. and the Heart of London Business Alliance, the London Luxury Quarter represents more than 1,000 businesses, including international luxury brands and jewelers, such as Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Victoria Beckham, Fabergé, Cartier and Boodles.
The association also represents cultural institutions such as the Royal Academy, local restaurants, hotels and private members’ clubs, including Bafta 195 Piccadilly.
Last year, London Luxury Quarter businesses generated a total of 4.9 billion pounds, or $7 billion, annually. It is expecting growth to be on the agenda at least through 2018 when Mayfair’s Crossrail station, near Hanover Square, will see the number of passengers rise from 155,000 to 225,000.
“We are investing in a rolling, billion pound development program and generous new public spaces. With Crossrail’s opening at Bond Street, we want to see the [Grosvenor Mayfair] estate support new growth at the heart of London,” said Craig McWilliam, executive director of the Grosvenor property group, a stakeholder in the London Luxury Quarter.
Other stakeholders include the Mount Street Association, the Crown Estate, the Mayfair Neighbourhood Forum and the Bond Street Association.
Global Blue figures indicate that Chinese visitors continue to be the biggest spenders in the area, making up 23 percent of the total international spend. There have also been significant increases in the number of shoppers from the Middle East, who now account for a third of all international sales in the area. Shoppers from Saudi Arabia in particular reached double-digit growth in 2015.
Despite a stale retail landscape following the terror attacks in Europe, luxury sales in the neighborhood appear to have been less affected over the last year. The Heart of London Business Alliance reported that Piccadilly and St. James’s witnessed a 5.1 percent uplift in sales, compared with a modest 0.4 percent annual retail average increase in London.
In addition, the number of brands owning their retail spaces has risen by 28 percent over the last two years and some retailers are said to be investing in the area beyond their own stores. Brands including Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Fortnum & Mason, Yves Saint Laurent, Longchamp, Etro, Graff Diamonds and Sotheby’s own the retail spaces they inhabit on Bond Street.
As demand for store space has been outstripping supply in 2015, a number of Mayfair locations beyond Bond Street have become retail destinations of their own, such as Dover Street, Duke Street and Mount Street.
Key openings over the last year have included Simone Rocha and Marni, who have opened stores on Mount Street, while footwear designer Sophia Webster is planning the opening of her first London flagship on street next month. Alexander Wang has opened his first store in the British capital on Dover Street, while Jigsaw and The Shop at Bluebird opened the doors to a joined concept store on Duke Street.
The Crown Estate has also started a 400 million pound, or $575 million, investment, at St James’s market, to be completed later this year. The rejuvenated St. James’s will offer 260,000 square feet of retail, office and restaurant space. Jigsaw, Swiss cycling brand Assos and the premium design and lifestyle company SMEG plan to open flagships in the market. The Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm, will also be occupying new offices there for their London headquarters.
The area is also popular for its cultural attractions and luxury hotels. Occupancy rates were up to about 80 percent, while hotel acquisitions in London exceeded 2.3 billion pounds, or $3.2 billion, in the first half of 2015, according to the report.
An increase in the area’s gallery space has also been noted, with Gagosian opening its third London venue on Grosvenor Hill, and the Pollen Estate currently creating 18,000 square feet of new gallery space on New Bond Street.
The Royal Academy is also undergoing a 49.8 million pound, or $71.2 million, renovation which will link the two buildings the institution owns – Burlington House and 6 Burlington Gardens.