Designer Stella Mccartney has angered retailers in London's posh Mayfair district, because the arrival of her fashion boutique has tripled rental prices.

The 32-year-old and fellow designer Alexander McQueen have both opened ultra-trendy shops recently, and are being blamed for forcing out established retailers.

A spokesman for CULPEPPER, a herbal medicine store which is shutting down following 76 years on the same premises, says, "We were forced out by the 2003 rent reviews that pushed up rent by 200 per cent.

"We were paying $42,500 (GBP25,000) for the ground floor, but the new figure is $127,500 (GBP75,000), which we cannot afford.

"Our landlord seems to think that he will be able to charge extortionate prices, justified by the fact that various top designers have relocated here in recent months."

07/01/2004 17:04