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As reported in ATG, September 6, rent at 141 New Bond Street rose by 50 per cent to £1.2m. At the time, other London art and antiques dealers, who did not wish to be mentioned, said rent reviews of this magnitude were not unusual for prime properties in and around Bond Street as global brands competed for space in the world’s top shopping destinations.

The operational review undertaken at Mallett in 2008 also described Bond Street as “now predominantly a fashion street” and concluded that the changing character of London’s best-known luxury goods thoroughfare had adversely affected footfall.

Mallett, who sold their erstwhile premises at Bourdon House two years ago for £14.6m, are seeking a purchaser for the lease on their current showroom and say a number of parties have already shown interest in the property that would return capital to shareholders.

Relocation would be accompanied by a focus on only the best available stock and a detailed review of staff structure. The desire to move to more cost-effective premises coincides with a marked slowdown in sales at Mallett. While the company’s new contemporary design arm Meta saw sales double from the first half of 2008 (it is hoped the venture will break even after three years), the core art and antiques business was severely impacted by the difficult trading environment.

Sales, in the second half of 2008 were roughly 50 per cent lower than in the same period in 2007. Because of this, the company expect to record an operating loss for the 12 months ending December 31, 2008 and shareholders were told to expect a very difficult 2009.