London could become a hotspot for new luxury watch store openings in the coming years after being identified as one of two major cities that could provide key opportunities for luxury brands seeking expansion.
The other city named in research by international real estate firm Savills is New York.
Savills said 44 per cent of luxury watch brands that operate standalone retail stores globally are not yet present in either city.
By contrast, 73 per cent of such brands already have a shop in Paris.
Overall, Savills said total new luxury watch store openings fell globally in 2017, with 37 compared to 44 in 2016.
However, the greatest increases in total luxury watch store openings in 2017 were in North America, with 19 new stores, and Europe with 15 new stores – marking year-on-year increases of 138 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
Those figures also show that openings have veered away from the traditional Asia Pacific markets, especially Hong Kong and Singapore, to focus more on “destination” markets in North America and Europe.
“In particular, those where ‘gaps’ remain could provide opportunities for expansion even in the more developed markets such as London and New York,” Savills head of London and international retail Anthony Selwyn said.
Savills said these “gaps” were partly historical, such as how many of the watch brands are French or because Paris attracted a high number of Chinese tourists.
Marie Hickey, retail research director at Savills, added: “Geographically, luxury watch store openings appear to be undergoing a shift.
“In North America watch brands have begun to focus on more emerging markets, with five openings in Toronto and three in Vancouver last year.
“In fact, Toronto was the top city globally for luxury watch store openings in 2017.”