Agnona London Boutique

GOING GLOCAL: In a first for Global Blue — and for London’s Mayfair — the tax-free shopping company plans to open a VIP, high-net-worth lounge on Albemarle Street in the coming weeks, WWD has learned.

The multilingual, invitation-only lounge, shopping and concierge service is aimed at international big spenders. Global Blue said it expects to greet more than 40,000 guests in the first year alone.

It plans to offer a dedicated shopping consultancy, immediate tax refunds and space for high-end brands and jewelers to connect with global customers.

The Albemarle Street lounge will be the latest to open, following similar sites in Milan, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Munich and Paris.

Max Mara, Aquazzura, Longchamp and Fortnum & Mason are all confirmed as partners for the Albemarle Street lounge, joining the existing Global Blue portfolio, which includes Burberry, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent.

Matt Farrell, director of Trophaeum, the London property owner and developer that has been stacking Albemarle Street with fashion and luxury outlets, said: “In the current retail climate, it is essential for retailers to be able to offer their clients first-class services, and the Global Blue Lounge will provide just that for our retailers.”

Albemarle Street, which runs parallel to Bond and Dover Streets, is home to brands including Alexander Wang, Thom Browne, Aquazzura, Amanda Wakeley and Globetrotter.

Since the beginning of the year, Self-Portrait has opened its first flagship on the street, while Agnona has also opened its first London unit. Oswald’s, Robin Birley’s new private members club concept, has recently opened near the restaurant Isabel, which specializes in a mix of high-end South American and Mediterranean food.

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