Retail News Summer 2011

The internet has conspired to bring about a lot of recent High Street Retail Company demises of what have become in many cases tired brands, which failed to reinvent themselves.

Retailers also need fewer locations to have nationwide coverage so the more important towns are getting stronger along with out of town parks.

The High Street is far from vanishing, as some headlines report, but rather reinventing itself with new and better brands. This will leave vacancies in many towns, but the market always adapts.


This sector has suffered with the collapse of 30 Habitat shops, Jane Norman, Oddbins, Officers Club, TJ Hughes and Moben Kitchens.

Thorntons are now trying to rapidly downsize and Mothercare is closing 110 stores and focusing on out of town. HMV is closing many stores and has sold off Waterstones to Alexander Mamut for £53M. Clinton Cards is considering a restructure and well and Game too have been hit badly by internet sales.

Balanced against all this gloomy news the House of Fraser announced a rise of 30% in own brand sales and 33 of Jane Norman shops have been acquired by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, with another tranche sold off already. The Spanish brand, Zara, was up 32% in net profit last year as a group.

H&M rose by 11% in its biggest rise since August.

37 of the Oddbins shops have, however, been taken by Whittalls Wines and others by the former MD.

Dixons announced at 20% fall in electronic sales in June in the first quarter, but companies like Apple are expanding and making good profits.

Clarks shoes made £100M profit for the first time in its 185 year history with sales 9.2% higher however mainly due to overseas growth.


London has become the haven for the rich and super rich with 50 billionaires in London and with another 20 living outside the capital. 70% of the super prime property is now bought by overseas investors and owners. It is a private playground for the super-rich it has been said. London is the place everyone likes to go despite the awful weather at times.

A race for space across most of London’s desirable shopping streets is underway per the Olympics. Retailers are paying aggressive rents and premiums with Chanel paying £7M to take Nichole Farhi’s New Bond Street shop. Victoria Secret are taking Pringles Bond Street shop as well for an undisclosed premium.

McLaren has completed its race into One Hyde Park in anew showroom next to Rolex under the apartments for the mega wealthy.

136 year old Lingerie retailer Aubade Paris are going into South Molton Street.

Chinese visitors too spent £200M in London last year an increase of 155%, two thirds of this money being spent in the luxury sector as it is 30% cheaper to buy here, than in China. Burberry, Mulbery and Asprey are some of the sought after brands for them.

The luxury sector booms with Burberry wanting to double its presence in London and spend £20M on new sites and refurbishments.

New fashionable Streets are Hill Street and Mount Street, while Bond Street remains just as popular moving to 5th place in the world in rent terms (Colliers International report).


Activity remains hectic in the City and West End with some notable demand coming from:

Bjon Borg the Swedish underwear brand is after 700/900 sq ft in the West End or Covent Garden.

Nanos, the Spanish children’s fashion retailer, is after 450/1000 sq ft in quality areas in London as is Oliver Sweeney in 750/1500 sq ft shops.

Diesel Black Gold is after 2500 sq ft in Mayfair. Creed fragrances established in 1760 are now looking for a Mayfair shop.

Café Nero is back taking sites of 750/1400 sq ft nationwide now with 550 cafes in the UK along with Whittard wanting 400/800 sq ft.

Mackintosh, the inventor of the raincoat, have taken a store in Mount Street.

Aquascutum, the iconic Regent Street store, is closing as the owner seeks to reposition the brand in smaller ladies and menswear shops.

Intimissimi are after 1000 sq ft shops in the West End and City. Twinings tea, are after a flagship London site of up to 2000 sq ft.

Sweaty Betty wants more London stores and Nationwide in 700/1000 sq ft shops.

Doc Martins want more shops in London, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The Kooples, the hip French fashion brand, is looking for a 2500 sq ft Knightbridge shop.

Tommy Hillfinger is signing up for a new 15,000 sq ft 3 level shop in Brompton Road.


The High Street food sector is thriving, with M&S looking for 4000 sq ft, Waitrose 3000 sq ft plus, Sainsburys 2000 sq ft plus, Tesco 2000 sq ft plus, Co op 2000 sq ft (who announced profits up 48%.).


WH Smith are now after 1000 sq ft plus back up in affluent locations and Superdrug are after 7 stores in 2011.

Half Price Jewellers are after 1000/1500 sq ft and want 10 stores in 2011.

Jigsaw are after 800/1500 sq ft in the South and London and the White Co 750 sq ft in London and the Midlands and South.

The shoe sector continues to expand with Pavers Shoes expanding nationally wanting 2500 sq ft shops as are Ecco Shoes wanting around 1000 sq ft and Deichmann 4000/6000 sq ft.

Store 21 continues to expand rapidly into 300/7000 sq ft shops, particularly in the South and Home Counties.

Jo Jo Maman Bebe is after more sites in London and nationally of 1000 sq ft and wants to treble the number of its stores.

Wilkinson are after 10,000 sq ft stores within the M25 and the South and Scotland.

All Saints was sold to the private equity owner of La Senza when All Saints failed last year.

Moss Bros has sold all its Boss franchise shops back to Boss to concentrate on its specialist hire business.

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