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Popping up and opening again
29 April 2021
As lockdown eases and the shops reopen, shopaholics frustrated with months of online shopping are coming out in their droves. Be it Primark or Bicester Village, the nations plastic is getting some serious airing. But how long will it last? No sooner had the queues formed outside Primark, than they seemed to disappear leaving bleak streets.
The pandemic has accelerated the fundamental shifts that have been facing retail for some years now. Exacerbated by Brexit, supply chain issues and the removal of VAT recovery on UK goods for non-residents, the luxury goods market continues to struggle.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the large format general purpose department stores have all but disappeared. There is no space in the market for these slow, old fashioned businesses. Dynamic specialist brands with creativity and energy, embracing a model of online sales, smaller stores, sustainably produced goods and super efficient delivery has fast replaced the traditional retailers and many high street brands.
Shopping centre owners looking to repurpose will need to keep up with this. No more the unit in a mall. Make it easy for a start up or a pop up. Provide the space with a basic fit out and last mile delivery options nearby. Forget the ERV.
As office workers slowly start to trickle back, the coffee and lunchtime economy is beginning its recovery. The previously thriving eateries of More London are now mostly dark or closed down. Contrast the restaurants and fast food operators with outside seating who bask in the Spring sunshine as we flock to be fed and watered.
We have seen a definite uptick in lettings of retail space to food and beverage operators in recent months, buoyed by the low rents and deals on offer from desperate landlords who have suffered innumerable tenant insolvencies and rents not being paid. The great British public will always welcome a pie and a pint!
Many of our clients have projects underway to ‘repurpose’ their retail holdings. Creating thriving and vibrant destinations with a 24/7 economy needs multiple complimentary uses, placemaking and more creative use of the outdoors. Those that achieve this will be the winners. Bring it on!
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