London remains resilient as retail continues to innovate

February 13, 2019

Words Peter Courtney, Head of London and Director at Lunson Mitchenall | Photography Luke Dyson

London is globally renowned for its reputation as a leading centre for business, education and politics, amongst many other things. This is reflected in the city’s world famous retail and leisure hubs, with so many streets and iconic destinations internationally recognised as places to visit and spend money. In the midst of the challenges facing retail and the wider economy, we are of course seeing this impact London. Yet, there have still been numerous significant openings and launches that have drawn new brands to the city. Here, we look at three of the capitals most exciting retail districts, all of which have involved Lunson Mitchenall, and discuss how they are helping the London market weather the Brexit storm

The recent opening of The ICON at The O2 in October saw 210,000 sq ft of new designer outlet space extend the enormously successful entertainment district, completing the circuit around the world’s most successful Arena venue. It has set itself apart from other retail openings by coupling with the existing entertainment-orientated offer at The O2 into one iconic destination. The combination of the established entertainment orientated offer, which already attracts over 9 million visitors a year, The O2 has achieved an iconic status in the world’s destination hierarchy. This ground-breaking project will provide a unique opportunity to merge the hugely successful outlet model with an all-encompassing urban leisure line up. The brand offer has been curated to target both the domestic and tourist markets, with a ‘best of British’ focus including Aspinal of London, Cath Kidson and Hackett.

Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross provides a very different but no less great example of the major retail component of Argent’s game changing Kings Cross regeneration. The highly anticipated project delivers innovation and originality, merging the provenance of the historic building context. A mix of experiential and independent fashion and lifestyle brands, together with concept stores and a clever fusion of hospitality, blends between the retail and restaurant concepts both inside and into the external spaces. Attracting big names such as Aesop and COS, sitting amongst UK Heritage staples including Paul Smith, Penhaligons, as well as a unique Wolf and Badger’s concept store.

It is the centre piece to the 67 acre Kings Cross regeneration, and is focussed on offering a distinctive experience for the customer by encompassing the rich heritage of the location. It doesn’t promise to have the biggest flagship stores in the city but to curate tailored and unique editions which aim to return to the true values of retailing and shop keeping. The product is indulgent, offering shoppers a more personal experience that is focussed on discovery. It plays to the growing trend of shops becoming showrooms with its state of the art shop fits and product lines.

Although not a recent opening, as part of the team with our client Canary Wharf Group, we participated in another exciting year of progress across the 1 million sq ft estate. A globally renowned financial centre, Canary Wharf is now established as the heart of the community for this part of London.

Construction at Wood Wharf is now advanced on the initial phases which will see a further 380,000 sq. ft. of retail, restaurant and leisure space together with 2 million sq ft of world class office space and 3,300 new homes in 20 new buildings, including the spectacular Herzog and De Meuron circular residential tower. This exciting opportunity has created opportunities for a whole new range of occupiers across the retail and leisure spectrum as Canary Wharf enjoys the continued recreation of its purpose, heading towards a truly mixed use environment with all of the associated requirements of its vibrant community. A diverse range of new occupiers included Peloton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Claudio Pierlot, Barry’s Bootcamp, independent restaurant Pedlar along with Wharf Kitchen, an indoor food market which follows the demand for street food style eateries, energising and refreshing the experience for Canary Wharf residents, shoppers and workers alike. In addition, the recent hugely successful opening of The Ivy in the Park within a purpose designed pavilion together with the well advanced construction of the 60,000 sq. ft. Arts Club, in water-fronted pavilion will provide another compelling experience for the Canary Wharf customer.

London’s knack for remaining steadfast, resilient and inspiring innovation in the industry is no mean feat and we are proud to have been part of these exciting developments across the Capital. One thing we can definitely take away from last year, is that London has remained at the forefront of retail by continuing to create unique environments like no other which are the envy of the world, and we believe this resilience will remain as we go forward through 2019 and beyond.


One thing we can definitely take away from last year, is that London has remained at the forefront of retail by continuing to create unique environments like no other which are the envy of the world, and we believe this resilience will remain as we go forward through 2019 and beyond
Peter Courtney, Lunson Mitchenall


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