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Oxford Street loses lustre as retailers retreat

Published on Oct 5, 2012 10:52 PM

LONDON (REUTERS) - London's Oxford Street, one of world's busiest shopping strips, is suffering from flat-lining demand, signalling that the global economic gloom has spread to leading retail areas.

The famed stretch, on which retailers have traditionally fought to open flagship stores, had previously defied the steep decline experienced elsewhere in the UK and Europe. However, rental growth will grind to a halt this year as retailers shelve expansion plans and assess whether the high rents are justified amid declining sales.

Rents on London's second most expensive street after Bond Street rose by 14 per cent in the 12 months to mid-2012, consultancy Colliers International said. The average rent of 800 pounds (S$1,589) per square foot for the most valuable front section of a shop is 51 per cent higher than five years ago.

Knight Frank partner Darren Yates believes that rents on Oxford Street will remain at 800 pounds or less for the foreseeable future.

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