US fashion retailer Banana Republic is in advanced talks to sign for its second UK store in London’s Covent Garden.
The retailer, which is owned by Gap, is expected to sign imminently for a shop at St Martin’s Courtyard, a joint venture between developer Shaftesbury and The Mercers Company. The development is slated to open next spring and has already attracted H&M sister brand Cos, which signed up last November to open its second UK store.
Banana Republic has been scouting for locations for a second site since it made its UK debut on Regent Street in March last year.
The move confirms parent Gap’s commitment to the UK for its Banana Republic brand. The first store opened before the global downturn hit and the US retailer has suffered since. For the 13 weeks ending May 2, Gap’s total net sales were $3.13bn (£2.02bn), a drop of 7 per cent compared with the same period the previous year.
Its international division – which includes the UK – reported like-for-like sales for its first quarter down 4 per cent. Like-for-like sales for Banana Republic North America plummeted 13 per cent.
However, the London Banana Republic shop is understood to have benefited from increased tourist spend because of the weak pound, along with fashion retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch.
The St Martin’s Courtyard project will create 25 retail units totalling 64,000 sq ft. It sits between St Martin’s Lane, Long Acre, Shelton Street and Mercer Street in the heart of Covent Garden. Property agents Thomas Davidson and Cushman & Wakefield are letting agents for the retail space.
The Regent Street shop marked the retailer’s first European flagship. The 17,000 sq ft store sits over three floors and carries womenswear, menswear and accessories. In the US Banana Republic has more than 550 stores and it has also ramped up its presence in Japan, where it now has 26 shops.
Gap declined to comment on the Covent Garden signing and the landlord of the scheme was unavailable as Retail Week went to press.