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Luxury retail finds its prime position

London Fashion Week is a good time to highlight the changes occurring in high-end shopping destinations in the capital. Today’s London provides a lesson in how the lure of
certain destinations for luxury shopping evolves over time.

Luxury brands are looking for an appeal that is less obvious than destinations such as Bond Street can offer. They recognise that premises and location are almost as much an expression of their brand as the product itself.

This new aesthetic is something we have seen in action on Mount Street in London’s Mayfair. Retail in this quiet, leafy location was dominated by high-end art galleries and antiques until 2006, when Marc Jacobs decided to locate his store there.

The Marc Jacobs store acted as a catalyst for us to move the bias on the street towards luxury clothing and lifestyle brands.

The impressive line-up on Mount Street now includes Balenciaga, Alfred Dunhill’s menswear store and members’ club, Annick Goutal, Christian Louboutin, Lanvin, Stephen Webster, Wunderkind, Rick Owens and Aesop.

What does this say about the priorities for luxury brands when choosing their location?

We’ve seen an increased desire for a distinctive location. There is a new breed of young creative directors heading up fashion houses who see the benefit of being in places such as Mount Street.

We believe the Mount Street formula is exportable and we are working with luxury retailers to help them explore the potential for taking their businesses to other areas where we operate, particularly Asia, where there is a great demand for luxury niche brands.

Helen Franks is director of London retail leasing at developer and landlord Grosvenor

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