By Kat Spybey
Retail agency CWM is to form a global joint venture with RKF, America’s largest independent retail-focused property agency.
Property Week International can reveal that the pair will work together in the US and Europe, launching a joint office in Hong Kong in a bid to assist with retailers’ increasingly global expansion plans. As a first step, RKF, which is run by Robert Futterman and has more than 150 agents in the US, has bought CWM’s New York office, led by Simon Gibbs and Ryan Kelleher, for an undisclosed price.
The two agents then have a legally binding contract to work exclusively with each other across Europe and the US. Thus, if RKF is representing a US retailer that wants to open stores in Europe, the client will be passed to CWM, and RKF will take a fee share.
Conversely, CWM’s European-based retail clients hoping to enter the US will be referred to RKF, and fees will be shared. The percentage of the fee share depends on the size of the deal.
The final element of the agreement is a 50:50 joint venture to launch an office in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay, which will be headed by CWM’s Rebecca Jeans.
It will focus on advising UK and US retailers seeking to open stores across Hong Kong, mainland China and Asia, as well as retail investment.
The office is expected to open in February next year.
CWM was launched in 1992 and has 47 agents across the UK and US. It advises Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Ben Sherman, All Saints, Aspinal and American Apparel.
RKF was founded in 1998. It is based in New York but also has offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago. It advises Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Barnes & Noble, Adidas and New York & Co among others. RKF chairman and chief executive, Robert Futterman, said: “The symbiotic nature of this relationship cannot be overstated: our US-based retail tenants and investors will immediately gain access to the European markets via the CWM platform.
“CWM, in turn, will introduce their European-based retail tenants and investors to the US market through our national platform here.”
Scott Murdoch, founding partner of CWM, added: “We also plan to work with RKF on building a joint presence in Asia, where CWM has already established a beachhead.”