Property companies Shaftesbury and Capco are to merge, bringing the control of some of central London’s best-known shopping districts under single ownership.

Covent Garden reopening

Covent Garden is one of the areas that will be overseen by the merger

The pair will oversee districts including Covent Garden, Carnaby and Soho, which draw shoppers from the UK and overseas.

Capco said: “Their popularity provides a seven-days-a-week trading environment and exposure to an extensive and diverse local, domestic and international customer base, which has proven to be resilient throughout economic cycles.”

The combined group’s portfolio will comprise approximately 670 mainly freehold buildings ”with approximately 2.9 million sq ft of lettable space across approximately 2,000 commercial and residential units”.

Retail accounts for about 35% or £1.7bn of the portfolio value. Hospitality and leisure make up 34%, and offices and residential 31%.

Central London was hit hard by lockdowns during the Covid pandemic and the subsequent trend toward working from home. Footfall in the West End has not fully recovered to levels before the outbreak.

However, Ian Hawksworth, the Capco boss who will lead the combined new body Shaftesbury Capital, told City AM: “London’s recovering strongly, isn’t it?… We want everywhere to be fun and interesting and relevant… There’s a lot of authenticity in what we have.”

  • Get the latest stores news and analysis straight to your inbox – sign up for our weekly newsletter