- Sadiq Khan met with global retail investors as the city tries to reinvent London’s West End post-pandemic
- 16 leading international retail brands participate in a three-day trade mission to explore expansion opportunities in London
- Latest data reveals London’s West End continues to show strong signs of recovery, with sales in the district up 109% year-to-date compared to 2021
London Mayor Sadiq Khan met with some of the world’s most exciting international retail brands as part of London’s efforts to attract innovative retailers to the capital. The brands are visiting London on a trade mission to explore investment and expansion opportunities in the UK capital and met the Mayor in the West End’s new immersive media and cultural district, Outernet London.
The group of sixteen The retail and consumer brands that joined the trade mission are eyeing London as a potential destination to open a new store or retail experience. The businesses have been selected based on West End plans to introduce an exciting wave of retail concepts and experiences as it looks to recover from the pandemic. Leading brands joining the trade mission include Fablea sustainable tableware company from Canada; Chaiwala Project, a United Arab Emirates tea company; Y naze naze a Chinese homeware brand that is owned by the Chinese luxury fashion house ZucZug.
The companies have been invited as part of a three-day program organized by London and partners, London’s destination and business growth agency. The program includes a tour, networking sessions, panel discussions and workshops to help brands recognize business expansion opportunities in London, as well as help them find their ideal retail location.
According to a recent report from The New West End Company, the West End continues to rebound strongly from the pandemic, with year-to-date district sales up 109% compared to 2021. Spending in 2022 is also outpacing year-to-date inflows, with sales still on track to top £10bn by 2024. With the recent launch of the Elizabeth Line, a new rail network that will bring an additional 1.5 million people to central London, the West End will see additional spending in the area with sales of up to £800m in the borough by 2031..
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The West End is a very important and historic part of our city, welcoming thousands of visitors every day and home to some of the best shopping, dining and theater in the world. Helping the West End recover from the pandemic is a crucial part of London’s broader recovery, so it was great to meet this group of innovative new retail brands today as they explore investment opportunities to help us build a better and better Prosperous London for all”.
Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, added: “Covid showed that we cannot take our international tourists or our city center for granted. We’re thinking about what future visitors will want to see, do and feel when they come to London. This group of brands is carefully selected to bring fresh experiences, exciting new ideas and global diversity to our downtown core. The brands we welcome this week are so excited to find their new home in London – it’s a brilliant place to experience as it attracts open-minded customers from all over the world. Our job, working in partnership with Westminster City Council, business improvement districts and landlords, is to make it as easy as possible for these entrepreneurs to open their doors here.”
The program started with a total of sixteen brands with a large international audience participating. Alongside Fable, Project Chaiwala and Naze Naze, other brands include current art (Hong Kong), an art gallery that promotes the artwork of local Hong Kong artists to an international audience; sarto (Hong Kong), a luxury tailoring company; little (China), an innovative lifestyle retailer; Serai Group (Malaysia), a family-owned hotel company; palace butcher (Malaysia), a food and beverage company specializing in premium meats; Tanamera (Malaysia), meaning ‘red land’ in Malay, which focuses on tropical spa treatments; Siti Khadijah (Malaysia) a modest fashion brand.
Cllr Adam Hug, Leader of Westminster City Council, commented: “I am pleased to welcome this exciting group of retail brands to Westminster today. As part of the council’s commitment to creating a fairer economy, we ensure that the West End remains a diverse and attractive hub of activity that meets the changing needs and interests of residents, visitors and businesses alike. Attracting high-value retail businesses and giving entrepreneurs the best opportunity to thrive here is a key element in achieving this.”
Home to more than 250 flagship stores, the West End continues to be the go-to consumer and retail experience destination for the world’s leading brands. Between 2016 and 2021, London attracted 460 retail inward investment projects. This is more than any other destination city, ahead of Paris (256), New York (249) and Singapore (188). Fall 2022 will also see a surge in new and exciting brand openings.
Recent new store openings in the West End include gymnastics sharka fitness clothing brand that will open its first physical store on Regent Street at the end of October. The hook, a unique art gallery retail concept, recently opened its London flagship store in Seven Dials. As much as Deliveroo, the online delivery app, which opened its first traditional grocery store on New Oxford Street. The area is also experiencing rapid growth in its leisure offer with the forthcoming opening of outside network London, opening in November, as well as FramelessLondon’s first permanent digital immersive art experience and the UK’s largest which opened at the end of September.
Philip O’Ferrall, President and Global CEO of Outernet, said: “The West End has always been one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas in all of London. Along with that, the incredible diversity of people who visit, work and live here made it the perfect home for the Outernet’s first district. We will create moments and events that bring people together, that excite and delight them, that look to the future while celebrating the creative and musical heritage of this corner of the West End and Soho. Outernet will be a force for both cultural and commercial good, increasing footfall in the area for the benefit of other businesses, bringing live music back to Denmark Street and providing the most cutting-edge digital experiences for audiences to enjoy.”
The program is associated with Westminster City Council, Heart of London Business Alliance, New West End Company, St Christopher’s Place, Shaftesbury, Capital and Counties, Crown Estate, GPE, Astrea Asset Management, Landsec and Derwent London.
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