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Fashion ‘will be king’ in eastern Oxford St revamp

Fashion will be “the king of the east end” of Oxford Street, thanks to development spurred by the completion of Crossrail in 2018.

Groups such as Land Securities and joint-venture partner Frogmore Real Estate – which own key properties near Tottenham Court Road station, including Primark’s new store – and Consolidated Developments – which owns property around St Giles Circus – are looking to woo fashion retailers from high street giants to indies as part of a regeneration of the area.

Big names such as H&M and Zara are likely to be targeted to take flagship units following the success of Primark’s recent launch at 14-28 Oxford Street.

But indies are also expected to be approached, with the possibility of rents being negotiated at a lower price in order to get “the right mix” into the St Giles area, which extends from the east end of Oxford Street to Holborn Circus.

Commercial property adviser GVA has produced a report for the New West End Company (NWEC) and Inmidtown Business Improvement District, estimating that annual spend in the area will grow by £448m between 2011 and 2025 as a result of Crossrail, nearly double the £509m spent in the area at present.

The transport link is expected to see a 36% uplift in visitor traffic through Tottenham Court Road, from 147,000 people per day to 200,000.

Report author Chris Goddard said fashion retailers would be the main beneficiary of this. “The focus of bricks and mortar on Oxford Street will be fashion,” he added, describing St Giles Circus as “the gateway”.

Land Securities retail leasing director David Atcherley-Symes said Primark had already been “a footfall generator”, noting that similar “big-box retailers” would sit alongside indies in smaller units.

NWEC chief executive Richard Dickinson told Drapers: “Fashion will be king in the east end. The big guys will anchor the success of the street, but there is a job to do to make sure the mix is right. We are working closely with landlords and others to facilitate that.”

Large property owners are looking at striking tenancy deals “on the basis of mix rather than overall profitability”, he said. “The larger property owners see [negotiating lower rent] as an option – if it enlivens the area, gets a good mix in.

“The opportunities lie in having those conversations – I know a lot of discussions are already taking place.”

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