Gucci Makes a Big London Move, Swapping Old Bond for New Bond Street

·6 min read

LONDON — New Bond Street in Mayfair, one of the most expensive shopping strips in the world, is about to welcome another luxury megabrand to a growing lineup that already includes Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Celine, Versace, Loewe and Balenciaga.

WWD has learned that Gucci will be moving from its longtime corner site on Old Bond Street to 144-146 New Bond Street. Gucci will be moving into a 16,000-square-foot space, and is expected to take possession of the property in the autumn of 2022.

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Trophaeum Asset Management, which owns most of Albemarle Street, other properties on New Bond Street, and chunks of prime space around London, purchased the retail block in February 2020 from a firm controlled by the banker Joseph Safra.

Trophaeum paid 130 million pounds for the building, which currently houses Halcyon Gallery on the ground floor.

At the time, Matt Farrell, managing director at Trophaeum, said “the location has great potential for a future fashion house.” He added that Trophaeum was “very keen to acquire the building, regardless of the chaos related to Brexit,” and made its move in response to increased investor appetite.

Trophaeum declined to comment for this story. Gucci could not be reached for comment.

Gucci’s planned move from Old Bond to New Bond signals a bigger shift that’s happening on the historic shopping street, which measures half a mile, and links Piccadilly with Oxford Street.

Celine’s new store on New Bond Street in London. - Credit: Manu Valcarce for WWD
Celine’s new store on New Bond Street in London. - Credit: Manu Valcarce for WWD

Manu Valcarce for WWD

Megabrands are migrating northward to New Bond as the big luxury groups, and property companies, snap up real estate on the Oxford Street end of New Bond, in years past a hodgepodge of retail with few major fashion brands. These tended to congregate south of Brook Street.

Trophaeum has been competing for properties alongside Kering, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Compagnie Financière Richemont, Christina Ong — and a slew of other brands and high net worth investors — on the street.

In 2019, New Bond Street was ranked the most expensive shopping thoroughfare in Europe, and the third most expensive worldwide, after Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay and upper Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in Cushman & Wakefield’s annual survey of shopping streets.

At the time, Cushman & Wakefield said that rents on New Bond were $1,714 a square foot a year in the second quarter of 2019. Cushman has not done its annual shopping survey since the COVID-19 crisis, and landlords are tight-lipped about current rents on the street.

As reported, LVMH has been sliding its brands around like chess pieces into key positions on New Bond, with Celine the latest name to move in.

Last month Celine opened next door to fellow LVMH brand Loewe, which is located at 41-42 New Bond Street, and its luxury neighbors include Ermenegildo Zegna, Alaïa, Smythson, Chloé, Ralph Lauren and Delvaux.

The Celine property belongs to LVMH, and had formerly housed a Louis Vuitton store. A few minutes’ walk away is the Vuitton flagship, which reopened in 2019 after a major refurbishment overseen by Peter Marino.

Kering-owned Balenciaga is preparing to move into the current Russell & Bromley shoe store space on the corner of New Bond and Conduit streets.

Earlier this year, Chanel purchased its flagship at 159 New Bond Street for a reported 310 million pounds from the Swedish pension fund SEB. According to press reports at the time, SEB was originally asking for offers around 240 million pounds.

Canali is located at 64 New Bond Street near Brook Street, and occupies the corner unit of a new, mixed-used development overseen by Great Portland Estates. It will sit alongside non-retail businesses including Glencore and KKR, which have pre-let 111,100 square feet of office space for their respective European headquarters.

Despite the lack of international tourism and store closures due to COVID-19, New Bond Street remains hot property.

“Investor confidence in Bond Street hasn’t waned, and we expect to see [New Bond] go from strength to strength over the coming years,” said Anthony Selwyn, co-head of global retail at Savills, in a report published in September.

Selwyn said the launch of Crossrail in early 2022, and the opening of the Mandarin Oriental hotel at Hanover Square “are set to have huge impacts on footfall,” in the area.

Celine’s new store on New Bond Street in London. - Credit: Manuel Valcarce for WWD
Celine’s new store on New Bond Street in London. - Credit: Manuel Valcarce for WWD

Manuel Valcarce for WWD

The new Crossrail underground network will run 42 miles east-west through London, with a stop on Davies Street, near New Bond. Crossrail starts around Heathrow and runs east into Essex, promising to speed millions of commuters, visitors and international tourists (when they can return to Britain in force) into central London.

The new Canali store on the corner of New Bond Street and Brook Street in London. - Credit: Courtesy of Canali/Carolina Mizrahi
The new Canali store on the corner of New Bond Street and Brook Street in London. - Credit: Courtesy of Canali/Carolina Mizrahi

Courtesy of Canali/Carolina Mizrahi

In its report, Savills said that investor appetite for Bond Street overall remains “strong,” with prime yields holding at their pre-pandemic level of 2.75 percent. Those yields are far higher than key streets in the West End, which have declined since the pandemic.

Bond Street overall was accountable for more than half of all retail investment in central London in the first half of 2021, Savills added.

Money has been pouring into the wider neighborhood: In early October, the New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses in and around Oxford, Regent and Bond streets, revealed there would be 5 billion pounds of capital investment in London’s West End across 22 existing, and new developments.

The funding, it said, would help the overall district bounce back from the pandemic by diversifying the offerings to include more multipurpose spaces, experiential shopping and public areas.

While Old Bond Street still has its share of fashion brands — including Prada, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, and Stella McCartney — it’s also home to many high-end watch and jewelry houses such as Cartier, Rolex, De Beers, Vacheron Constantin, Boucheron and Damiani, which attract a different clientele from the fashion brands.

The Chanel boutique on New Bond Street in London. - Credit: Tim Jenkins
The Chanel boutique on New Bond Street in London. - Credit: Tim Jenkins

Tim Jenkins

Indeed, there’s a difference between splashing tens of thousands of pounds on a Vacheron Constantin watch, and a few thousand pounds on a Louis Vuitton bag.

Although Trophaeum declined to comment, it is clear the company is looking to replicate on New Bond what it has already done on Albemarle Street, filling the thoroughfare with luxury brands and turning it into a fashion and accessories haven.

Trophaeum has added more than 25 new businesses to Albemarle over the last five years, including Self-Portrait, Thom Browne and Aquazzura.

During the pandemic, the company moved in a string of new businesses, including the London outpost of the Paris sushi restaurant Le Bar des Prés; La Loma, a Peruvian concept created by club king Robin Birley, and a new members’ club on the corner of Albemarle and Grafton streets called Maison Estelle.

Trophaeum started buying New Bond Street properties in 2015 with the idea of turning the area that runs from the corner of Bruton Street to the corner of Grosvenor Street into a European fashion and accessories hotspot. It has since moved Chloé into number 143, and Alaïa into number 139 New Bond Street.

Gucci is arguably Trophaeum’s hottest property on New Bond so far, and its neighbors will include Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu and Fendi.

Trophaeum also owns other property around London, notably on St. John’s Wood high street, which it has been revitalizing. It has taken its luxury proposition to Italy, too: In the fall, Trophaeum opened the first Christian Louboutin flagship in Milan’s Golden Triangle.

Gucci has occupied the corner space at Old Bond Street and Stafford Street for more than 20 years. In 2011, the 7,370-square-foot store was refurbished when Frida Giannini was at the creative helm of the brand.

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