Retail Property - La Maison du Chocolat opens first UK store

Exclusive French chocolate retailer La Maison du Chocolat is to open its first UK store at 45/46 Piccadilly, London, where it has taken an assignment of American Airlines' lease.

The store will be the confectionery company's ninth worldwide, joining five branches in Paris, two in New York and one in Tokyo.

La Maison du Chocolat was advised by Atis Real Weatheralls. It will pay a rent of£180,000 a year for the 360 sq m unit.

American Airlines' lease, which expires in September 2005, has been assigned with a six-month rent-free period, and a new reversionary lease has been negotiated with the landlord, Morley Fund Management, until September 2012.

Michael Horwitz of Michael Horwitz & Co advised La Maison du Chocolat.

He said: 'This was an important deal for La Maison du Chocolat because the new store will be the first to open in Europe outside France.

'The American Airlines' unit was in a highly sought-after location and it should provide the ideal base for a flagship boutique.'