A new report released yesterday revealed that an estimated 80% of total UK spend on jewellery and watches is taking place in London, with at least half of this figure on the luxury shopping streets between Piccadilly, Mayfair and St James’s.
The report, compiled by jewellery writer and consultant Claire Adler, details how London is becoming the leading global market for jewellery and art sales. Auction houses within London’s Luxury Quarter – as it is dubbed – have reported record breaking sales in the past five years, while rents on Bond Street have increased 40% in the last 18 months.
The report is focused on an area comprising 42 streets featuring Cartier, Tiffany, Bulgari, Harry Winston and Fortnum & Mason, spanning Mayfair, St James’s, Savile Row and Bond Street, known for its influx of high net worth home-grown and international shoppers. The area encompasses 90 jewellers operating in a total 95,000 sq ft of shop space, and 89 art galleries.
London Luxury Quarter chairman Mark Henderson said: "The last five years has seen the interplay between art and jewellery formally recognised as the most enduring and appealing proposition of the area for brands and investors alike. You only need to look to the number of New York galleries upping their presence in the area as a sign that the London Luxury Quarter is now seen by the industry and buyers as the art and jewellery epicentre of the world.
"For as long as the Quarter is home to the most coveted watches, jewellery and art, the area will continue to set itself apart from other luxury districts in attracting both the high net worth shopper and investor.”
The report also reveals the London Luxury Quarter has remained resilient in the face of a global recession with record-breaking sales across art and jewellery during the past five years, such as Sotheby’s Bond Street 2010 sale in which a Cartier Panther bracelet fetched £4.5 million, remaining the most expensive bracelet ever sold at auction.
Boodles managing director Michael Wainwright was one of several jewellery industry figureheads present at a round table meeting at the Royal Academy yesterday, which focused on the report. He said: "Ironically, things have really taken off for us since the world recession hit in 2008. Four years ago we rarely sold anything in excess of £500,000. Now we expect four or five sales of this value annually. Customers who buy these items are undoubtedly more confident shopping within the luxury milieu of the London Luxury Quarter.”
With the advent of Crossrail set to increase daily visitors from Bond Street from 155,000 to 220,000 property owners are said to be fiercely pouring investment into the area to ensure little is left to chance in creating a high density haven of diverse luxury retail.
The Bond Street Development Group are leading the way with an ambitious five year plan set to span concierge services and the creation of an enhanced aspirational environment in addition to the recent launch of the Bond Street Beadles providing a multi-lingual welcome to international shoppers from across the globe.
Property owners are also following suit with Grosvenor investing £80 million in the refurbishment of Mount Street and more than £10 million spent to date on public works in North Mayfair.
Across the Quarter rents face upward pressure with Bond Street alone witnessing an increase in rent of 40% over the last 18 months according to London retail agency Jones Land LaSalle.
Brands who have recently bought properties include Prada on Bond Street, who paid £87.5 million and LVMH who bought the Louis Vuitton Bond Street flagship store and shops leased to Coach and Smythson for approximately £292 million.