London, England 18 October 2022: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan met with some of the world’s most exciting international retail brands as part of London’s efforts to attract innovative retailers to the capital. The brands are visiting London on a trade mission to explore investment and expansion opportunities in the UK capital and met The Mayor at the West End’s new immersive media and culture district, Outernet London.
The group of 16 retail and consumer brands that joined the trade mission are eyeing London as a potential destination to open a new store or retail experience. The companies have been selected based on the West End’s plans to introduce an exciting wave of retail concepts and experiences as it looks to recover from the pandemic. Leading brands joining the trade mission include Fable, a sustainable tableware company from Canada; Project Chaiwala, a tea company from the United Arab Emirates; and Naze Naze a homeware brand from China that is owned by Chinese luxury fashion house ZucZug.
The businesses have been invited as part of a three-day programme hosted by London & Partners, the business growth and destination agency for London. The programme includes a tour, networking sessions, panel discussions, and workshops to help the brands recognise the business expansion opportunities in London as well as assist them to find their ideal retail location.
According to a recent report from The New West End Company, the West End continues to bounce back strongly following the pandemic, with year-to-date sales in the district increasing by 109% in comparison to 2021. Spend in 2022 is also outperforming footfall year to date, and sales remain on track to exceed £10bn by 2024. With the recent launch of the Elizabeth Line, a new railway network that will bring an extra 1.5 million people to Central London, the West End will see an additional spend in the area with up to £800m sales into the district by 2031.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The West End is a historic and hugely important part of our city, welcoming thousands of visitors every day and home to some of the best shops, restaurants, and theatres in the world. Helping the West End to bounce back from the pandemic is a crucial part of the wider London recovery, so it was great to meet today with this group of new and innovative retail brands as they explore investment opportunities to us help us build a better, more prosperous London for everyone.”
Laura Citron, London & Partners CEO, added: “Covid showed that we can’t take our international tourists or our city centre for granted. We’re looking ahead to what future visitors will want to see, do, and feel when they come to London. This group of brands is hand-picked to bring fresh experiences, exciting new ideas, and global diversity to our city centre. The brands we are welcoming this week are so excited to find their new home in London – it’s a brilliant place to experiment because it attracts open-minded customers from all over the world. Our job – working in partnership with Westminster City Council, Business Improvement Districts, and property owners – is to make it as seamless as possible for these entrepreneurs to open their doors here.”
The programme kicked off on Monday 17 October with a total of 16 brands with a large international audience taking part. Alongside Fable, Project Chaiwala and Naze Naze, other brands include Art Current (Hong Kong), an art gallery that promotes the artwork of local Hong Kong artists to an international audience; Il Sarto (Hong Kong), a luxury tailoring company; Miniso (China), an innovative lifestyle retailer; Serai Group (Malaysia), a family-run hospitality company; Palace Butcher (Malaysia), a food and beverage company specialising in premium meat; Tanamera (Malaysia), meaning ‘red earth’ in the Malay language, which focuses on tropical spa treatments; Siti Khadijah (Malaysia) a modest fashion brand.
Cllr Adam Hug, Leader of Westminster City Council, commented: “I’m pleased to welcome this exciting group of retail brands to Westminster today. As part of the council’s commitment to creating a fairer economy, we’re ensuring that the West End remains an attractive, diverse hub of activity that serves the changing needs and interests of residents, visitors, and businesses alike. Attracting high-value retail businesses and giving entrepreneurs the best chance to thrive here is one key element to achieving this”.
Home to over 250 flagship stores, the West End continues to be the ideal retail and consumer experience destination for world-leading brands. Between 2016-2021, London attracted 460 retail trade inward investment projects. This is more than any other destination city, ahead of Paris (256), New York (249), and Singapore (188). The autumn of 2022 will also see an uptick in new and exciting brand openings.
Recent new store openings in the West End include Gymshark, a fitness apparel brand that is opening its first physical store on Regent Street towards the end of October. The Hook, a unique art gallery retail concept, recently opened its flagship London store in Seven Dials. As well as Deliveroo, the online delivery app, which opened its first brick and mortar grocery store on New Oxford Street. The area is also seeing rapid growth in its leisure offering with the upcoming opening of Outernet London, opening in November, as well as Frameless, London’s first, and the UK’s biggest, permanent digital immersive arts experience which opened at the end of September.
Philip O’Ferrall, Outernet Global President and CEO, said: “The West End has always been one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas in the whole of London. Along with that, the incredible diversity of people that visit, work and live here made it the perfect home for the very first Outernet district. We will create moments and events that bring people together, that excite and delight them, that look to the future whilst celebrating the creative and musical heritage of this corner of the West End and Soho. Outernet will be a force for both cultural and commercial good, increasing footfall in the area to the benefit of other businesses, bringing live music back to Denmark Street, and providing the most cutting-edge digital experiences for the public to enjoy.”
The programme is in partnership with Westminster City Council, Heart of London Business Alliance, New West End Company, St Christopher’s Place, Shaftesbury, Capital and Counties, Crown Estate, GPE, Astrea Asset Management, Landsec, and Derwent London.
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