M&S Plans Store in London’s Shard Skyscraper

Marks & Spencer Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest clothing retailer, will open a store in London skyscraper the Shard, western Europe’s tallest building.

“The little bit of retail space is fully leased,” developer Irvine Sellar said in a June 29 interview. “Nothing other than the standard brands” for railway stations will occupy the space, which is adjacent to the London Bridge train terminal.

WH Smith Plc, a U.K. book retailer and stationer with more than 1,100 stores, opened a shop in the tower this week, the company said by e-mail. Marks & Spencer will have a franchised Simply Food store in the building, according to the London-based retailer.

The Shard has 5,000 square feet (465 square meters) of retail space, which opens into the train station. London Bridge is used by 55 million passengers a year and that will rise to more than 90 million starting in 2018, Network Rail Ltd. said in March. The increased foot traffic should boost rents, increasing the values of the shops.

The tower and neighboring office building the Place are 95 percent owned by the State of Qatar with the remaining 5 percent held by Sellar’s Sellar Property Group.

Marks & Spencer’s U.K. same-store sales fell 2.8 percent in the first quarter ended June 30, the company said yesterday, compared with the median analyst estimate for a 2.5 percent drop.

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