Oxford Street poised for huge shift from shops to offices says report

A huge reinvention of Oxford Street will see almost 1 million sq ft of shop space converted to offices over the next five years, a report forecasts today.

Europe’s premier shopping destination “is on the brink of a generational change” according to agents Savills

It says a total of 1.32 million of new office schemes are scheduled for delivery in the next five years, with about three quarters of that coming from former retail space.

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West End footfall is still well down on pre-Covid levels and a number of well known retailers such as Debenhams and House of Fraser have withdrawn from Oxford Street. Others such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis are looking to reduce the retail footprint of their stores and replace some of the space with offices.

Meanwhile demand for large office spaces have never been higher, says Savills.

Key office schemes along Oxford Street include Henrietta Place, the former House of Frasers, the former Debenham’s store, Derwent London‘s 150,000 sq ft scheme at Holden House, and a 80,000 sq ft development at a former Next store 4.

Hunter Booth, head of the West End office agency team at Savills, said: “The very best offices today not only offer cutting-edge design but also strong locations on account of connectivity and transport links and a proximity to amenities and leisure spaces. Oxford Street is already globally recognised as a leading retail and leisure destination and its location lies at the heart of Central London.

“While the area has been hard to imagine as a genuine office sub-market until now, the sheer volume of space available for conversion is a once in a generation moment to transform the street and attract those larger occupiers who may otherwise be pushed out of the West End due to a lack of opportunity.