Covent Garden study tourDigital Manager
ICSC Europe organised a special study tour of the £1.2bn Covent Garden last night, arranged with owners Capital & Counties (CapCo) – all part of the prelude to the ICSC Retail Connections starting today (Tuesday) at the London Design Centre in Islington.
This was no ordinary study tour, as it had been an invitation specifically to 40 of the industry’s Next Generation members – and they gathered in London from many different countries around Europe to hear the presentation in CapCo’s offices off Floral Street.
ICSC Next Gen Committee member Sam Cotton joined the £2.3bn CapCo business in the role of asset manager in November 2013, and is clearly relishing the challenge there. He introduced the extraordinary accomplishments achieved thus far on the 912,000 sqft. estate over the last 8 years – and there is clearly energy there to continue this trajectory. CapCo made its first major purchase on the Estate in 2006, and has since acquired many other properties to become the major landowner of the area including Kings Court and the entire Covent Garden Market we know today. The transformation has been nothing short of epic. From a series of buildings once earmarked for demolition, CapCo has elevated the area to a premium shopping, leisure and dining destination that is a huge endorsement of what is best about London today.
Sarah-Jane Curtis, Director of Covent Garden, and Creative Director at CapCo Bev Churchill were also there to assist with the presentation. Following a detailed description on leasing strategy and brand positioning for Covent Garden, Bev went on to explain in the Q&A that tourists vs Londoner numbers were now almost at parity on the Estate, with 44 million visiting a year – but it was their affluence and spend that set them apart – average retail spend at Covent Garden is nearly £140 per visit. This had been aided by recent lettings to Aesop, Y-3, Miller Harris, Burberry Beauty Box – supplemented with further new restaurant announcements expected from CapCo very soon.
Dan Innes, Managing Director