The same week that Chanel unveiled its new Spring/Summer 2021 collection at the Grand Palais in Paris, the French Maison has announced that it purchased its Bond Street store for £310 million, in a show of confidence to retail in London.
Chanel’s little black dresses, softly tailored tweed jackets and two-tone shoes have been a fixture at 159 Bond Street since 2013. In a boom for British retail, the Parisian fashion house has agreed to pay £310 million to buy the boutique outright, which is £70 million more than the original £240 million asking price.
Chanel reportedly fought off competition for the prime location from the Abu Dhabi royal family, as well as private investors in Hong Kong, Europe and America. Spanning 12,600 sq ft, the flagship boutique is one of the largest Chanel shops in the world and houses the French Maison’s complete offering of ready-to-wear, footwear, accessories, fine jewellery and beauty, with sumptuous VIP changing rooms and an art-filled lounge.
The Chanel Boutique at Bond Street is one of Chanel’s largest spaces worldwide, the store covers three floors and sells fashion, beauty and accessories.
Designed by Peter Marino, the boutique’s showpiece is a supersized, sculptural string of pearls that hangs down the middle of the stairwell, made from hand-blown Murano glass by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel.
The French Maison has further outposts on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge and Walton Street in Brompton Cross, as well as a jewellery boutique on New Bond Street.
The acquisition highlights Chanel’s commitment to British retail despite the high street reporting a fall in sales and shoppers following lockdown measures. While the premium brand accessed the Bank of England’s emergency coronavirus lending scheme at the start of the pandemic, borrowing some £600 million, the company has said this has since been paid back in full.
While it is an undeniably difficult time for British retail, the luxury sector has continued to perform well: there have been consistent queues outside Bond Street’s most popular boutiques since they reopened in July, as well as steady footfall in Knightsbridge and Chelsea. During September, The Deck opened as the first all-female tailor on Savile Row, and Thom Sweeney unveiled a multistorey townhouse on Old Burlington Street. Off-White also recently debuted its first standalone London store on Sloane Street.
Chanel is currently controlled by Alain Wertheimer, 72, and his brother Gérard Wertheimer, 69. In 2018, the French fashion house elected London as the base for its global headquarters, transferring staff from New York and its native Paris. In 2019, Chanel increased profits by 16.6 per cent, totalling $3.5 billion, and announced in June that it still expects to turn a profit in 2020.
Chanel devotees can rest assured that the Parisian mega-brand isn’t budging from Bond Street. Come into the beautiful world of Chanel.