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London the top choice for luxury retailers

London was ranked the number one location for luxury retailers last year, with more store openings than Paris, Tokyo and Singapore.

According to data from Savills, London accounted for 9.6% of all luxury store openings worldwide, with 33 luxury retailers opening their doors in 2018, up 38% on 2017.

Luxury fashion brands accounted for 45% of store openings – although this was down on 2017 as specialist accessory brands, focused on bags, footwear and eyewear, increased their share from 20% to 24%.

Specialist jewellery and watch brands also continued to account for a sizeable number of store openings, at 24%.

Globally, the research found that luxury brands opened 16% fewer new stores in 2018 compared with 2017, suggesting brands are focussing on core, strategic and often underrepresented markets. 

Bangkok was a close second to London, with 6.7% share of store openings, with the opening of the ICONSIAM mall a direct reason. Dubai and Hong Kong shared the third position, with Dubai, Paris and New York all making the top ten.

“In spite of the headwinds facing UK retail, the London luxury market is looking not only resilient but is also offering attractive opportunities for those brands who want to enter the market, as well as those looking to improve their physical presence with more high profile, experiential spaces,” said Marie Hickey, retail research director at Savills.  

“With a 38% increase in luxury store openings last year, the city became the most active destination globally for high end brands, up from joint fourth in 2017.”

Anthony Selwyn, head of London and international retail at Savills, said: “Last year we saw the big luxury brands retrench to the core cities and we expect these global destinations to remain the key focus for luxury brands wanting to expand or improve their physical profile in 2019. 

“For the UK market, it’s great to see London leading the way, and with the core cities predicted to be the main areas of interest for brands this year, the future looks positive the capital.”

Destination and convenience ‘key for future-proofing’ shopping centres…

In partnership with the real estate firm, Savills, a new report from intu has found that brick-and-mortar stores continue to play a ‘vital’ role in the retail experience, with 43.4 per cent of respondents placing them in their ‘top three preferred locations’ for buying items such as footwear and clothing.

The ‘Spotlight: Retail Revolutions’ report established the preference for shopping centres was even more noticeable among ‘Generation Z’ (16-24 year olds) and ‘Generation Y’ (25 to 34 year olds), amounting to 62.9 per cent and 53.4 per cent respectively.

In addition, the possible opportunity for shopping centres to become ‘destinations’ in their own right and encourage customers to spend full days rather than stay at home and shop online is also presented, providing the added benefit of enticing a larger number of customers from beyond a centre’s traditional catchment.

Regional director at intu, Rebecca Ryman, said: “Striking the balance between destination and convenience is fundamental for shopping centre landlords wanting to deliver an overall offer and experience that meets the everyday needs of their local catchment.  A strong and diverse retail offer supported by the right leisure facilities and combined with ease of access are key to generating a wider appeal and thus helping to future-proof the success of a shopping centre.” 

Furthermore, the study acknowledges the need for convenience in terms of shopping centres is paramount for ‘Baby Boomers’ (55-64 year olds), who consider this as a priority than a destination. This goes some way to explain why a large proportion of Baby Boomers ranked small local high streets (45 per cent) and online shopping (40 per cent) in their top three preferred locations.