London's East - West Retail War Heats Up

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 100 months ago
London's East - West Retail War Heats Up

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Photo / Martin Deutsch
Our nation of shopkeepers will soon be asked to choose sides in a retail war. After the (questionable) success of Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, the Australian property company is already touting the occupancy rate in its new development in Stratford.

18 months ahead of opening, the shopping centre claims to have found tenants for 60% of the space, including distressingly predictable reassuringly familiar names like John Lewis, Waitrose, H&M and River Island. The centre's managing director bombastically claims that his pride and joy will have a catchment of 4 million people within a 45-minute journey, drawing in bargain-poachers from across the capital and probably pinching a sandwich or two out of Bluewater's lunchbox in the process.

Has west London thrown in the towel and slunk away, tail a'twixt its legs? Has it hell. Knightsbridge will shortly be dragging its own Howitzer onto the battlefield: a swanky new Topshop opens later this month in the heart of Brompton Road, sporting a new Kate Moss collection (shriek!), knitwear from Mark Fast (swoon!), and the usual collection of kecks, jimjams and undercrackers (sizzle!).

Who will win this battle? WIth the capital's attention focused ever eastwards as the Olympics approach, the punter might be goaded into thinking that Stratford and its environs are where it's at, shopping wise; yet one doesn't need a long memory to recall an all-new east London shopping destination, launched during an economic downturn, that didn't quite live up to expectations.

Last Updated 05 May 2010