The long-awaited launch of Banana Republic’s European flagship on Regent Street marks a fresh start for US retailers in London. John Ryan reports on Gap Inc’s finest

There have been times over the past couple of years when Regent Street has seemed to occupy such a high profile that almost everywhere else has had to play second fiddle in terms of store design innovation and new formats. It’s hard to define exactly when it started, but both the Apple and Habitat stores stand out as early examples, even if today the former is always mobbed while the latter sometimes looks conspicuously empty.

The point is that this half-mile stretch that is UK retail at its glitziest, and probably best, continues to attract new retailers and there are still a substantial number of shopkeepers waiting to make their Regent Street debut.