Mount Street retail boomWednesday, 09 February 2011
Park Lane. Whilst neighbouring Bond Street or Sloane Street were the designer retail destinations of choice for an influx of Middle Eastern residents or luxury shoppers cashing in on our recession weak pound. Today the cost of renting a retail space on Mount Street has risen by a recession-denying 330 percent. The reason? A flurry of luxury retail brands setting up shop.
First in 2007, Marc Jacobs arrived at 24/25 Mount Street. And as he paved the way for a host of other top international designers; Balenciaga, Lanvin, Louboutin, Stephen Webster - to name a few - rents have risen from £90 a sq ft to £300 as they all looked to the ‘Jacob’s effect.’ And the latest arrivals; rainwear specialist Mackintosh and feted young shoe talent, Nicholas Kirkwood for 2011.
Without a doubt, some of the reason for Mount Street’s newfound retail favour is the fact that it is still decidedly cheaper than Bond Street, which has escalated to around £925 per sq foot – about the most expensive retail space across Europe – as well as the more elegant, refined customer experience it offers. And of course last year’s 4million pound street restoration by property investor Grosvenor, who own 300 acres of property in Mayfair and Belgravia, and which they predict will see a huge increase in foot count.
And residential property values have benefited from the shop arrivals, with figures now back up to the peak levels of 2007. Here it is actually desirable to live above a shop!
Peter Wetherell, founder and chairman of the visible, Mount Street estate agents, Wetherells, has witnessed the staggering changes to the ‘high street’, as he affectionately puts it, having started work in retail there 20 years ago. ‘It was a mecca for antiques and grew in the 30’s to be the area for gentleman estate agents – just look through an old copy of Country Life to see all the listings.’ Wetherell went onto set up the Traders Association in the 90’s with the Duke of Westminster (who heads up Grosvenor) when they noticed so many empty shops (post 90’s recession). But Grosvenor have been cautious to be sure they buy in the right buildings, and mix of tenants to suit the heritage and charm of the street. And they
seem to have done it well.
Now residents consider themselves part of a ‘community’ – with an achieved balance between retail, luxury services, restaurants and of course art. What is also noticeable upon taking a stroll down the street is the mix of international business and local shops. A rare and compelling experience. It’s one they are all keen to preserve, as owners have noticed the effects of the shop to shop customer journey. So Mount Street now boasts an official association of retailers, who meet to discuss their findings, propose ‘village’ events, and make future, target enlarging plans.
And it seems to be working with all the retailers enthused by sales and the meeting of target expectations. Carolina Herrera, Louboutin, Marc Jacobs, for example, have all recorded exceptional yearly growth.
And the spurt doesn’t look to dip any time soon with the LVMH group now in plans to open their first London outlet of Spanish designer, Loewe, on Mount Street. Infact, soon there could be a problem accommodating the designer wait list!