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Mayfair and Belgravia see significant retail recovery

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Les 100 Ciels boutique
As the U.K. emerges from the pandemic, the luxury retail sector is bouncing back and confidence is returning to central London.

New data from property developers Grosvenor shows 33 new brands opened their doors in Mayfair and Belgravia in the past twelve months, including beauty brand Barbara Sturm’s UK debut, Browns relocation to Brook Street and Les 100 Ciels Man luxury cashmere.

This drove low vacancy across Grosvenor’s London portfolio at the year-end of approximately 3 percent vs a UK average of 14 percent, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Amelia Bright, Executive Director, Grosvenor, commented: ‘In the past two years, we’ve worked hard turn the concept of a landlord on its head and to make the choice of who occupiers contract with as important to them as the choice of street, connectivity and rent.

“When lockdowns hit our goal was that Mayfair and Belgravia would come out the other side as strong as when we went in, with shops and restaurants open and ready to welcome everyone back.

“Waving rent in lockdowns was a highly effective early intervention. But it’s really been our actions since then, like the Tenant Investment Fund, which have fundamentally changed the nature and number of the conversations we’re having.”

Supporting business expansion

Grosvenor’s suite of services for occupiers is particularly directed at independent businesses which form around two-thirds of its retail and hospitality occupier base. These include the Tenant Investment Fund, which supports business expansion plans at a time when bank funding is constrained and a market first trading lease designed to require no negotiation, reducing time and costs involved in agreeing a lease.

More widely, Grosvenor’s 1 billion pound development pipeline, much of which was progressed since the onset of Covid-19, will aid the evolution of Mayfair and Belgravia and changing needs of residents, visitors and workers. This includes schemes like the South Molton Triangle, Holbein Gardens and The Ice Factory and the application for Grosvenor Square which is set to be determined by Westminster Council in 2022.

Short-term experiences like Belgravia in Bloom, The Daily Dress Edit, The Ever After Garden and enhanced outdoor dining also supported reopenings and resilient footfall figures.

Amelia Bright added: “If we want to safeguard the long-term future of a place we need to nurture enterprise. And we know that that this formula works. Not only is vacancy at the levels you’d expect in a buoyant market, but in October 2020, half term footfall exceeded 2019 levels and, pre Omicron, footfall on key streets in early Christmas trading was very encouraging.”

Barbara Sturm
Les 100 Ciels