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Archive for March 7th, 2010

Yesterday, I took a stroll down Bond Street in London (technically doesn’t exist – it’s Old Bond Street from Piccadilly to Conduit Street roughly and New Bond Street from there to Oxford Street). It’s nearly 900m long according to the maptools compared with just over 300m for Grafton Street. I attach the photographs at

http://www.flickr.com/photos/48125641@N05/

In summary there were no vacant shops whatsoever on Old Bond Street, though there was one major refurbishment taking place at the site of the old Louis Vuitton flagship store (there is still a second Louis Vuitton store across the street and the refurbishment is branded Louis Vuitton).

On New Bond Street, there were three empty retail spaces with advertisements. There were about 2/3 which were branded as opening in Spring 2010. There were 1/2 which were closed but had no indication of market status.

The street is not pedestrianised like Grafton Street but it was heaving with shoppers on a Saturday afternoon. What struck me was the number of luxury brand stores – not 1 but 2 huge Cartier stores, not 1 but 2 Louis Vuitton Stores, de Beers, Rolex, Van Cleef and Arpels, Chopard, Prada, Bulgari, Burberry, Mulberry, 2  x Armani (1 Collectione and 1 Emporio), Graffs the jewellers (scene of the £30m heist last year). On Grafton Street the brands tend to be represented in department stores, though there are a small number of exceptions.

Also to note there is not one single fast food outlet (or indeed any food outlet) on the street and there are no newsagents, no juice bars, no bagel bars, no mobile telephone stores, no multi-brand shoe shops.

Lastly there were two stores only with sales and both were non-branded stores that appeared to be selling end of season clothing.

Grafton Street has the feel of being a world away from Bond Street – and remember Bond Street is close by to Regent Street, Brooke Street, Knightsbridge, Kings Road, Carnaby Street, Jermyn Street, Saville Row, Tottenham Court Road, Bayswater and Westfield shopping centres (all having premium brands). How can Grafton Street compete for international shoppers with this sort of competition on your doorstep.

As I understand it the record for retail rent on Bond Street was set late last year at £900 per square foot (€1,000 at £1=€1.10). The present Zone A rent which encompasses Grafton Street is €727 per square foot – how many retailers are paying in excess of this? Who truly knows. What is the average rent on Bond Street? Somewhere south of €1000 certainly.

This is a response to an article that appears on the irelandafterNAMA blog.

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