Zara ups expansion pace with latest signing next to Harrods

Zara is set to boost its central London coverage with a landmark letting next door to Harrods on Brompton Road.

The Spanish fashion retailer is believed to have agreed a deal with landlord Ropemaker Properties - the property arm of the BP Pension Fund - on a new 2,800 sq m three-storey unit above Knightsbridge underground station.

Letting agent CB Hillier Parker had been quoting a rent of around£2.5 million a year for the prominent unit, which is at the heart of one of the UK's most expensive retail pitches.

Zara's retained property adviser, David Hobbs of Harper Dennis Hobbs, refused to confirm the acquisition, but he said that Zara is looking to step up the pace of its UK expansion programme. In recent months, seven deals have been signed, and Zara has a target of 10 more for next year, taking its UK portfolio to 27 stores by the end of the year.

The latest store to open is a 1,675 sq m unit in Capital Shopping Centres' Glades Shopping Centre at Bromley in southeast London. Other recent deals are on 970 sq m at Brent Cross in north London, 1,375 sq m at 52/53/54 Long Acre in London's Covent Garden - where a rent of£1.1 million a year has been agreed - 2,795 sq m at 2 New Cathedral Street in Manchester and 930 sq m at Meadowhall in Sheffield.

The first store to open next year will be a 1,845 sq m unit at 12/18 Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

Harper Dennis Hobbs believes there is still plenty of scope for UK coverage in Newcastle, Cribbs Causeway, Merry Hill, Southampton and Brighton.