North American F&B players lead the charge as international retail and leisure groups grab London space

By Paul Norman - Thursday, October 11, 2018 11:04

Thirty six international retail and leisure brands have opened their first UK outpost in London in 2018 to date, reports Savills, exceeding the 2017 full year total of 32.

The firm forecasts that the 2018 total could be in the region of 45, bringing it closer to the 2016 peak of 53.

So far in 2018, 39% of retail and leisure entrants in London have been international food and beverage (F&B) operators, including Greyhound Café and BunCo. 

North American F&B concepts have made a come-back, says Savills, with five entrants so far including byCHLOE, Which Which and Inko Nito.

There has also been an increase in interest and activity from Asia Pacific-based operators with entrants in 2018, including Singaporean brand Old Chang Kee and Chinese hot pot chain Hai Di Lao. Savills said that based on known pipeline, 2018 will be a record year for F&B international entrants to London, with close to 20 openings.

Marie Hickey, commercial research director at Savills, said: “While there have been operational challenges facing the UK F&B market, people are still going out to eat and spend is forecast to increase 8% over the next five years. This continues to attract new international operators to the capital.”

Savills forecasts that the total number of non-F&B retail and leisure entrants to London in 2018 is also expected to be up on last year. To date, there have been 22 non-F&B entrants with a further four due to open soon and more in the pipeline before year end.

The firm said Europe has been the main source market for non-F&B new entrants, with French and Italian brands dominating. Examples include French online brand Sezane opening a permanent site in Westbourne Grove and Jimmy Fairly taking space on Regent Street.

Laura Salisbury Jones, associate director, Central London and European retail, at Savills, added: “Despite a number of well-publicised challenges facing the UK retail and leisure market currently, it is clear that London’s appeal remains for international brands. In some cases these challenges are creating opportunities for new entrants. The strong momentum we have seen in new entrants to the capital so far in 2018 looks let to continue in the remainder of this year and beyond.”

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