London merchant expands

09 July, 2010

London-based specialist wine merchant Lea & Sandeman is on the lookout for properties to extend its estate.

The company has the south London suburbs of Dulwich and Wimbledon in its sights and also has designs on opening a branch in Marylebone in the centre of the capital.

The upmarket chain, established by Patrick Sandeman and Charles Lea in 1998, already operates four shops – with a flagship store in Chelsea and others in Kensington, Barnes and, more recently, Chiswick.

It also has a growing online business and a large warehouse facility in Battersea.

Sandeman said: “We want to open more shops but it’s very difficult to find the right locations and we’re not alone in wanting to expand.

“There are a lot of empty properties, but we only want the right sort of sites and there’s lots of competition for those. On top of that, rents are still high.”?“We’ve identified that the retail side of the business rather than wholesale is what really works for us.

“The retail business is going really well, despite a difficult start to last year.”?Lea & Sandeman is using property advisor MMX Retail to secure new locations over the next 18 months.

MMX said it was looking for freehold and leasehold properties in the region of 1,500sq ft.

The property company was founded by ex-Savills directors at the end of 2009 and has clients including La Senza, the Body Shop, Gap, H&M, Hed Kandi and Marks & Spencer.

Lea & Sandeman has a strong emphasis on classic European regions and buys wines directly from growers.

It was named London Wine Merchant of the Year in the 2009 International Wine Challenge.

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