Welcome to the Bond Street Association’s AGM & lunch, an event that I particularly enjoy each year, as it is such an excellent opportunity to see our members and to update you on all the activity of the BSA over the past year and our plans for next year.
It is also a great opportunity to chat and network with Bond Street colleagues, friends, and neighbours in this beautiful setting. I particularly want to thank Paul Jackson, the GM here at Claridge’s, not just for working with us to host this AGM, but also for his commitment to working with the BSA and joining our Council.
2016 has proved to be a challenging year, many of us are concerned about the economy following the Brexit vote and of course we have not seen the real outcome of that yet. It is encouraging that in the past few weeks there has been an uplift in visitor numbers, which many put down to overseas visitors taking advantage of the weak pound, and while London is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the world, we need to work hard to ensure that London retail and particularly Bond Street remain the worldwide attraction they are today.
The £10m investment in Bond Street’s public realm is set to commence in 2017 spearheaded by NWEC and Westminster City Council. This work is key to ensuring Bond Street’s future as a world-leading shopping destination. We have seen Bond Street fall behind our neighbouring streets over recent years, as Grosvenor and The Crown Estate invest into Mount Street and Regent Street, so I am delighted that the funds have now been raised and the much needed public realm upgrade for Bond Street can begin. – This is something the BSA has been very instrumental in, and I am particularly proud of instigating with my team.
This street improvement work, together with the Crossrail project and the opening of the Elizabeth Line, will bring an additional 60m visitors to the West End annually, boosting retail sales by £10bn a year.
I am delighted to be part of the Bond Street Development Group, headed by Paul Dimond, Chairman of DAKS, collaborating with NWEC, Westminster City Council, The Mayor of London, the Metropolitan police, and other organisations to help create a thriving, safe and unrivalled luxury shopping destination.
I am often asked what the BSA does! So I will as quickly as possible tell you!
We are about connectivity, working with your neighbours, partners, and like-minded organisations to bring improvement, collaborations, and progression, and of course being a thorn in the side of inertia.
Now in its 92nd year, the Bond Street Association offers its Members a host of opportunities including PR & marketing, brand collaborations, professional seminars, workshops, social networking events, training and development, as well as links to Westminster City Council and other governing bodies.
The official Bond Street website attracts between 20,000 – 30,000 thousand visits per month and is supported by our growing social media platforms.
We have an on-going media partnership with the Mayfair Magazine, which sees BSA Members receiving preferential advertising rates as well as being listed in the magazine’s two annual Mandarin and Arabic issues. I also sit on the judging panel for the Mayfair Awards, which celebrate excellence across businesses in Mayfair.
Bond Street News, our consumer newsletter, edited by the luxury journalist, Lucie Muir continues to draw people to the street. This year we have interviewed many famous Bond Street personalities and celebrities who shop our street. If you don’t receive this, please let us know, as it really is fun and informative.
We continue to bring VIP shopping groups to Bond Street through the Bond Bespoke program, connecting with travel companies, Concierge groups, hotels, and businesses. This year’s groups have included; Morgan Stanley, University Alumni groups, a group of international F1 followers, as well as tour groups from Asia and America.
We have just instigated an exciting new partnership with Moët Hennessy, giving our Members preferential rates on purchases as well as access to their exclusive events and experiences. We will be revealing more on this partnership over the next few months.
In June we celebrated Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday with a special publication entitled A Royal Life, acknowledging Bond Street’s contribution to the Royal household via the many Royal Warrant holders and suppliers to the Royal family.
The BSA supported Brown’s London Art Weekend in July, a fantastic initiative – now in its third year – in which leading galleries and auction houses across Mayfair and St James’s open their doors to a weekend of tours, talks, walks and VIP parties. The event brings opportunities for innovative collaborations between galleries and retailers such as La Perla’s unique tour and Gallery Hop party for 200 young collectors.
Over the year Members were invited to business forums focused on Fraud & Theft Prevention, Retailing in a Multi-Channel World, and most recently The Art of Luxury Service in partnership with Debrett’s Academy.
The Bond Street Association’s diary of social events are always well attended and are an enjoyable way to network. From sales previews, Cheese & Wine Pairings with Berry Bros & Rudd, a performance of Shakespeare in the St James’s Square, to jazz and salsa dance nights at 100 Wardour St and Quaglino’s, and of course our annual Quiz Night.
Remember to add December 14th to your diaries for the final event of the year, the Three Associations Carol Service at St James’s Church on Piccadilly, which is a wonderfully festive end to the year.
I would like to thank the Bond Street Association Council who in attending our meetings give their valued time, ideas and opinions. My particular thanks go to Sophie Grounds for her amazing contribution to the BSA’s involvement in Brown’s London Art Weekend. Sophie, you have been a hugely valued member of the Council for many years, and we all wish you the greatest of happiness for the birth of your first child.
And remember to breathe…
I would also like to give a special thank you to the Directors of the BSA who attend very regular meetings and ensure that the BSA continues all its great work, my thanks to Pauline Hudson-Evans, Simon Fitzpatrick, and Alex Bergholz-Gander and of course to Katie Thomas who is responsible for all our PR, Marketing, and Communication activities.
The Bond Street Association is an important voice for the retailers and businesses in and around Bond Street, working with the NWEC and Westminster City Council to ensure your needs and expectations are met. We can only continue to represent and support you if you support us through your annual subscription and an on-going engagement with us.
On that note, may I wish you all a very successful Christmas trading period and very much look forward to working with you in 2017.
Lord Bruce Dundas.