burlington arcade

Burlington Arcade – London’s oldest arcade – a mix of tradition & today’s fashion

Burlington arcade

Burlington Arcade – London’s oldest arcade – a mix of tradition & today’s fashion

Burlington arcade, not far from Fortnam & Mason on Piccadilly Rd is one of the iconic retail precincts in London. The construction of Burlington Arcade is often considered a seminal event in the evolution of marketing and the history of retailing as it marked a major advancement in both shopkeeper and shopper comfort.

Burlington Arcade marks the beginning of a 50 year period where shopping arcades were constructed in many cities and reached a peak with the construction of the Galleria Milano. When constructed, Burlington Arcade provided shoppers and retailers with a sunlit covered street in a safe and secure environment. The arcade had shops on ground level and accommodation on the first floor, today there is no accommodation and many shops have been combined to form larger shops or the first floor is used for offices. It was built in 1819 by Lord Cavendish who owned Burlington House next door, some articles suggest, and the stone carving would stand as testament, that Lord Cavendish had philanthropic reasons, encouraging industrious women to start businesses, others suggest he wanted to improve the tone of the area and reduce litter.

The Burlington Arcade was owned and renovated by the European retail investment group, Meyer Bergman from 2010 until 2018 when it was sold to London business men David and Simon Reuben.


Burlington Arcade and the shops within the arcade are always beautifully presented. To keep such an iconic shopping arcade as one of the best shopping experiences in London must take enormous effort, and I noticed that the entire street floor has been replaced since my last visit [the need to replace it was not because of anything I did – honestly].

On this particular visit stunning posters hung from the rafters to acknowledge 100 years of Vogue Magazine. This relationship between Vogue and Burlington Arcade is a nice collaboration as both are at the pinnacle of fashion. One can only guess how they will celebrate their 200 anniversary in 2019. Maintenance also applies to traditions, the uniformed Beadles are still there. In 1819 when the Arcade opened the London Police had not been established and security and policing was a fragmented, The Beadles of Burlington Arcade were employed for this task – a small police force. One of the Beadles, Kevin, mentioned that both Londoners and visitors loved to stroll through the arcade, taking in the atmosphere, particularly on a wet afternoon. Another nice touch is the shoe shine service, it looks ‘typical London’ and fits the timeless image of Burlington Arcade. It is not uncommon to see someone reading a paper, perhaps contemplating some of the big issues, whilst having their shoes polished, or someone, perhaps a regular customer, thoroughly engaged in the conversation and ‘having a good chin wag’; meanwhile, all of the world walks by and many smile and enjoys the theatre. A walk up the arcade takes you past some stunning shops and it is always heartwarming to experience the art of retailing.

If at the end of the arcade you turn left and then left again you find yourself on Old Bond Street; that way you can return to Piccadilly Street and experience some of the great retailers of the world, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co, Moncler, DYNY, Rolex, Omega, MaxMara, Prada, Bottega Venata, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Prada, Dolce & Gabana, Gucci, Vacheron Constantin, Alexander McQueen, Tod’s & DeBeer’s Diamonds. Along the way you will pass The Royal Arcade, at 28 Old Bond Street, this arcade is architecturally impressive  [it had a little cameo in the movie ‘Parent Trap’ when what’s her name and her screen mum were walking through London – Funny enough the background music in the film is ‘Here comes the Sun’].

This, area, if you are a student of retailing or just someone who loves shops is not a quick walk – many of the stores are brand flagship stores. If you enjoy a good shop window then this is a worthwhile visit.

After the success of Burlington Arcade a number of arcades were built around the world. Other London arcades within an easy walk are Piccadilly, Princess, & Royal and they are also worth a visit.


Given the Location of Burlington Arcade in one of the world’s premier retail precincts, describe the types of shops and target market[s] that the management of Burlington Arcade would like to attract as tenants.

In the buyer decision process we list 8 consumption qualities, consider each quality – nominate the most important [from the target market’s perspective] and explain your thoughts.

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