Over 220,000 sq ft of retail space is set to open up on the east end of Oxford Street with major US brands leading the race to snap up stores.
Retail property consultant David Kenningham, of Kenningham Retail, is advising New West End Company on its retail strategy for east Oxford Street and is to visit the US to woo major retailers to the location for their international flagships.
Kenningham told the London Real Estate Forum that new cross London rail route Crossrail, which will bring 20 million additional visits per year when it is operational in 2018, opens up a big opportunity for the east end of Oxford Street.
He also said that Primark’s Tottenham Court Road store, which opened last September, has driven a 22% rise in footfall at that end of the street year-on-year.
The imminent closure of the Royal Mail Sorting Office in the area has been a catalyst for redevelopment for landlords.
Kenningham said he wanted to differentiate east Oxford Street from the other end of the street by blending its existing brands with new retail arrivals to the UK. There is an opportunity to bring in a retail mix which complements the younger, edgier crowd around Soho and Fitzrovia.
Following Primark’s success, Zara is set to open one of its largest UK stores in east Oxford Street. It is thought that the store might include home, womenswear, menswear and kidswear in the same store for the first time.
In the autumn, Kenningham will visit the US to try to entice retailers such as Joe Fresh and Amercian Eagle that have stated their intention to enter the UK market.
He said: “It is imperative these brands understand how this section of Oxford Street is changing and that west Oxford Street is no longer the only viable mainstream option. We are starting to raise the profile of what will happen at west Oxford Street even if many of these retailers do not anticipate an entry into the UK until 2015 or later.
“Development is not a quick process in a global and historic city such as London but it is imperative we fully understand these requirements to maximise the opportunity.”