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Forget Oxford Street. Meet the next generation of hot London shopping streets

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The new London high streets set to entice the style-savvy and property-prolific

There’s no doubting the pulling power of Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street. These streets are synonymous with shopping in London, but for retailers, a shop on one of these streets comes with a hefty price tag.

Prime Zone A rents rose by an average of 3.1% over the third quarter of the year, according to property agent Savills, while Zone A rent rates on Oxford Street are close to £800, thanks to soaring demand from UK and international brands.

As a result, there’s little availability around these hotspots – Savills notes that both Bond Street and Regent Street have zero vacancy. This increasingly leaves retailers to scout out alternative parts of the capital to open up shop, according to Planet Retail senior retail analyst Isabel Cavill.  And if the brand is more on the niche side, the de rigueur is to find a unique location.

So where will Londoners be spending their hard-earned cash in the future? We hunt down the capital’s next cluster of shopping destinations.

Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury 

Come shopping here for: Cool menswear brands.

Key sign it’s on the rise: Retail interest in the street has quadrupled since J Crew signed on the dotted line, according to James Ebel, director at property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Big names moving here: Smoking hot J Crew. Footwear label Grenson has just signed for a store.

Lamb’s Conduit Street has been the talk of the town since hotly anticipated US fashion retailer J Crew, favoured by Michelle Obama, chose the area as its launchpad into Europe last month (October).

But out of all the streets in London, why Lamb’s Conduit Street?

James Ebel, director at property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs, which acted for J Crew, says the retailer wanted a location that was “ahead of curve, cool and edgy” and not fully established as a retail destination.

Lamb’s Conduit Street is a far cry from your typical homogenous high street thanks to its collection of British menswear brands such as Private White VC, Oliver Spencer and Folk Clothing.

Property experts agree that more niche brands are expected to flock to this edgy central London destination.

With average rents ranging from £30,000 to £50,000 per annum, Ebel says the location is still affordable for a small brand.

“We’ve not seen a spike yet, which is why we chose that location,” he says. “It’s early enough in its development that deals are still to be had.”

The J Crew store

The J Crew store on Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury

St James’s Gateway, Piccadilly 

Come shopping here for: Premium contemporary fashion. 

Key sign it’s on the rise: Barbour has launched its first store dedicated to motorcycle clothing here. Crown Estate is pumping £500m into the area. 

Big names moving here: Barbour and Sunspel have just opened shops here.  

If the masterminds behind the transformation of Regent Street are working their retail magic on Piccadilly, you can hedge your bets that their £500m revamp of the area will be heralded as another retail success story.

As part of their plans, The Crown Estate is developing St James’s Gateway, a 100,000-sq-ft development located between Piccadilly Circus and Jermyn Street.

It’s already considered a magnet, having signed several retail deals in the last few months, including contemporary menswear brand Tiger of Sweden and heritage brand Barbour. Shop rents are thought to range from £150 to £220 per sq ft.

Barbour’s UK sales and marketing director Ian Beattie says the store’s close proximity to Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street meant it was a “perfect location” for the brand.

Anthea Harries, St James’s portfolio manager, says that the plan for St James’s is to refine the area and preserve its heritage, and that over the next 10 years it will offer 50,000 sq ft of retail space.

Hyland says with the level of investment The Crown Estate is ploughing into the area, Piccadilly will be heralded as one of London’s key new retail hubs.

Berwick Street, Soho

Come shopping here for: Good quality clothing for the style-conscious man. 

Key sign it’s on the rise: Cushman & Wakefield’s Hyland says a number of “interesting fashion brands” have been looking at the street.

Big names moving here: Recent additions Nudie Jeans and Universal Works.

Berwick Street has always been regarded as a special shopping destination peppered with record stores, fabric shops and haberdasheries.

But Soho’s iconic street is enjoying a resurgence, with cool brands scouring the area to open up stores, according to Samantha Bain-Mollison, head of retail strategy at Berwick Street landlord Shaftesbury.

However, she signals there’ll be no high-street chains anytime soon. “We would like to retain Berwick Street’s character whilst introducing a select few handpicked brands, but it’s important that these have a point of difference.”

Similar to Lamb’s Conduit Street, menswear brands are starting to trickle in. Organic denim brand Nudie Jeans opened its doors here in May, followed by stylish menswear brand Universal Works in August.

Berwick Street, Soho

Shoreditch, East London

Come shopping here for: Line your bike basket with a mish-mash of products from funky one-off designs to a pair of sneakers.

Key sign it’s on the rise: Investment, investment, investment. Old Spitalfields Market was acquired earlier this year by an American group for £105m while a regeneration project on Shoreditch Village will open in 2015.

Big names moving here: Cowshed’s “naughty little sister” line, Cheeky, has just opened here.

Property experts say there’s a growing number of retailers sniffing around the capital’s most creative neighbourhood, as retail rents remain lower than central London.  

One part of East London that’s set to undergo a shake-up in the next year is the historic Old Spitalfields Market, since New York-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation snapped it up for £105m earlier this year. Experts believe this will pave the way for a major retail development.

Matt Hyland, partner at property firm Cushman & Wakefield’s retail team, says: “The new owners won’t completely change the tenant mix overnight but their long-term vision is to improve it.”

However, he adds that it won’t turn into your typical high street. “They’ll be very selective in terms of which brands they’ll bring in as they’ve got to retain that East London vibe.”

The Redchurch Street side of Shoreditch is expected to see more retail openings in the next few years, following on from the success of Boxpark, a nearby temporary shopping mall created from shipping containers.

Watch out for a new wave of retailers after Hackney Borough Council recently gave the green light for a 150,000-sq-ft mixed-use regeneration project on Shoreditch Village.

Leasing agent RK Retail Consultancy is hoping to lure in aspirational brands to fit in with the area’s hip character.

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