Underneath the placid surface of the lifestyle world, the currents and winds of change may be gathering force
One certainly wonders if the Tectonic plates are shifting a little at the moment. Social media continues to take a knock; from Twitter’s lack of moral direction to Facebook’s continuing dominance of the front pages and plunging share price. Having lost in the region of USD 100billion in the last two weeks alone, its woes in the digital domain are reflected perhaps in the continuing problems facing the housing market; everything seems to be heading for a dip or re-invention of some description.
There are conceivably linked lessons of caution here, for many the digital environment – like London property – was deemed a sure thing, despite the obvious risks of a self policing industry.
Whilst London’s residential property woes are being well documented, the continuing strength of its commercial side is starting to cause some discreet tremours around the West End. Since we published the article Craft in the West End (one of this month’s Editor’s Picks), several small British craft firms have ceased to trade from a London address.
For some it was pre-planned but for others the continuing pressure of short-term focused landlords, coupled with an upwards review of rates, resulting in a doubling of overheads in the blink of an eye, proved too much. The continuing high rents being asked has started to hit the larger players in the market as well; we know of at least two of the major luxury groups quietly letting the leases on their West End boutiques end, unable to sell them on and unwilling to renew.
These costs are starting to bite in the restaurant trade, with very few well backed outliers, many eateries are struggling to fill tables and thus cover costs. The current epidemic of no-show reservations increases pressure on an already strained industry; unable to release booked tables to walk ins, the financial repercussions of the no-shows (informal chatter puts this as high as 40 per cent) is clear to see.