Over 300,000 sq ft of retail space is to open on East Oxford Street over the next seven years as part of a “radical transformation”, it has been announced today.
Running from Tottenham Court Road to Poland Street, the development will be the largest opening of retail space ever seen in the West End, according to the New West End Company (NWEC).
NWEC is being advised by retail property consultant David Kenningham of Kenningham Retail on its strategy which seeks to place the East End of Oxford Street as the top choice for major US and global brands looking for UK flagships.
At the London Real Estate Forum in Berkeley Square today, Kenningham noted that the upcoming Crossrail route will see some 20 million extra visits to the area per year once it become fully operational in five years time and noted that the recent opening of Primark’s Tottenham Court Road store saw footfall in that end of the street jump 22 per cent year-on-year.
“It is imperative these brands understand how this section of Oxford Street is changing and that West Oxford Street is no longer the only viable mainstream option,” explained Kenningham.
“We are starting to raise the profile of what will happen at East Oxford Street even if many of these retailers do not anticipate an entry into the UK until 2015 or later.
“Development is not a quick process in a global and historic city such as London but it is imperative we fully understand these requirements to maximise the opportunity.”
Ahead of the completion of the Crossrail in 2018, Kenningham identified three key areas of change that are required to drive growth, including blending established and new brands to create “a point of difference”, introducing a retail mix to entice younger shoppers and replacing obsolete stock with “quality new retail space”.
Later this year, Kenningham will approach key US brands to discuss opportunities that may be available and he emphasised that American Eagle, Express and Joe Fresh have all targeted expansion in the area in the coming years.
Kenningham concluded: “As a Street changes over the next few years the retail mix will become unrecognisable from today’s disappointing offer.
“We expect to see further development in the latter part of the decade as other property owners see the unbelievable opportunity in this area and moved to create space that meets the needs of a new breed of retailers.”